Tennessee Slaps BlackRock With First-Of-Its-Kind Consumer Protection Lawsuit Over ESG Sham

December 19, 2023 in News by RBN Staff

source:  zerohedge


TUESDAY, DEC 19, 2023 – 05:55 AM

Tennessee State Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti filed the first-of-its-kind consumer protection lawsuit against BlackRock, accusing the world’s largest ‘woke’ money manager of making false and misleading claims regarding its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment strategies to residents of the state.

Tennessee’s lawsuit addresses BlackRock’s use of proxy voting to ram woke capitalism through corporate America but at the expense of returns.

“BlackRock has admitted that promoting ESG aims — like companies’ radically reducing their carbon output — can conflict with its funds’ financial performance,” the lawsuit said. “It is thus only fair that consumers know if the hard-earned funds they invest will be leveraged to BlackRock’s ESG ends, rather than to maximizing financial returns.”

The lawsuit explained, “Yet for years, BlackRock has misled consumers about the scope and effects of its widespread ESG activity,” adding, “BlackRock’s conduct concerning the marketing or sale of its investment products and services constitutes deceptive acts and practices under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.”

“We allege that BlackRock’s inconsistent statements about its investment strategies deprived consumers of the ability to make an informed choice,” AG Skrmetti wrote in a statement.

He continued:

“Some public statements show a company that focuses exclusively on return on investment, others show a company that gives special consideration to environmental factors. Ultimately, I want to make certain that corporations, no matter their size, treat Tennessee consumers fairly and honestly.”

The lawsuit cited several examples between 2021 and 2022 where BlackRock used proxy voting to advance ESG policies at companies, such as Exxon Mobil Corp.

Responding to the lawsuit, a BlackRock spokesperson told FOX Business:

“We reject the Attorney General’s claims and will vigorously contest any accusations that BlackRock violated Tennessee’s consumer protection laws.

“Contrary to the Attorney General’s claims, BlackRock fully and accurately discloses our investment practices and our approach to proxy voting.

“On behalf of our clients, BlackRock has invested approximately $40 billion in Tennessee, and we are helping more than 600,000 hard-working Tennesseans retire with dignity. We are proud of our contribution and committed to the future in Tennessee.”

Remember this?

And this: CEO Larry Fink has been at the center of pushing ‘climate change’ policies and has even said his firm would “force behaviors” on corporate America.

In August 2022, 19 GOP state attorneys general wrote to Fink informing him that proxy voting to advance ESG violated their laws governing fiduciary duties. Ten states passed rules making it clear that such proxy voting is a breach of fiduciary duty.

Republican state treasurers have pulled billions of dollars from BlackRock in the last year as ESG investments come under fire. Fink recently had to drop the term “ESG” because of the blowback.