Does woke corporate policy violate America's antitrust laws?

Chris Talgo at The Heartland Institute asserts that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics have become the bully boy project of the the big Wall Street investment firms and Fortune 500 companies, using trillions of dollars in assets under their control, that are just pension funds and retirement accounts for everyday Americans.  Under the law, they have no right to use their fiduciary relationship with investors and savers to push a political agenda — so what gives?

As Mr. Talgo asserts, there is a good legal argument that ESG violates antitrust laws, an argument gaining momentum at the state and federal levels.  On December 6, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) announced that the Committee on the Judiciary will investigate this very matter when the 118th U.S. Congress convenes next month.

According to a letter penned by Jordan and several of his Republican colleagues,

Woke corporations are collectively adopting and imposing progressive policy goals that American consumers do not want or do not need. ... [W]hen companies agree to work together to punish disfavored views or industries or to otherwise advance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, this coordinated behavior may violate the antitrust laws and harm American consumers.

Specifically, Rep. Jordan asserts:

The "traditional principles that prohibit cooperation among competitors in ways that restrict price, output, or quality" apply "regardless of their values-based intent." As one antitrust expert has explained, '[t]he loftiest of purported motivations do not excuse anti-competitive collusion among rivals. That's long-standing antitrust law.'"

Talgo points out that in other words, Jordan says financial/investment firms cannot engage in collusive political or economic behavior, regardless of their theory of climate or environmental science.

Some of the few remaining Republican congressmen have announced that they believe that ESG violates antitrust laws, and they are requesting that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate the matter.

Mr. Talgo suggests that the best approach to counter the ESG behemoth is an all-fronts attack via We the People, the states, as well as the federal government.  Fortunately, an alliance is finally coalescing.

I'll second that motion.  The ESG movement is just another socialist environmentalist anti-American putsch.

John Dale Dunn is a retired emergency physician and inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas.

Image via Pxhere.

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