Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Wednesday pushed back on recent claims that woke investment firms “don’t exist.”
Patronis, a Republican, appeared on Newsmax with host Sean Spicer, who asked about a recent article in The New Republic, a left-leaning magazine.
The article asserted that Republican officials, like Patronis, were concocting claims that massive institutional asset managers like BlackRock, which under Democratic CEO Larry Fink manages an $8.5 trillion investment portfolio, were pushing far-left woke policies through “environmental, social and governance,” or ESG demands.
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The magazine claimed such firms are only out to maximize profits, as good capitalists should.
“The right has it in for woke investors. The only problem? They don’t exist,” the article proclaimed. It also asserted that a woke investment agenda was “imagined.”
The defense of that was that BlackRock still invests in fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil.
Yet The New Republic also acknowledged that ESG is “often shorthand for climate and socially conscious investment.” And the article quoted a 2020 memo by Fink that announced BlackRock “will be increasingly disposed to vote against management and board directors when companies are not making sufficient progress on sustainability-related disclosures.”
On Newsmax, Patronis explained why Florida has been the major player of states rejecting corporate ESG advocacy.
Patronis announced last year that Florida was pulling $2 billion in investments from BlackRock, and about half of the total red states have been yanked from left-wing investment firms.
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“We are trying to shop for the absolute best return on our investment, and it’s sad that ESG has basically turned into the more woke you are, the easier it is to access capital. It’s a shame, it’s disappointing. It’s a challenge to return on investment,” Patronis said.
“So we had to take matters into our own hands and move money in divesting from the likes of BlackRock because of their ideology and their political doctrine that does not focus on the bottom line of retirees.”
“Just the hypocrisy of the BlackRocks of the world that fight against carbon, and then they ship their money over to China that is building coal-fired [power] plants left and right,” added Patronis.
“The state of Florida will not allow our dollars to promote those kind of ridiculous agendas.”
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