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Arizona AG warns against congressional ban on activist investing practices

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(The Center Square) – Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is hoping that the federal government will allow companies to use Environmental, Social and Governance standards.

Mayes and other Democratic attorney generals, including Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, wrote a letter to Congress warning against certain House bills, such as the “Roll Back ESG To Increase Retirement Earnings Act” and the “Ensuring Sound Guidance Act”, that would restrict the private sector’s ability to use the controversial practice of ESG in how they conduct business.

“Sustainable investments have demonstrated their potential to generate positive outcomes, both for the companies involved and for society as a whole,” Mayes said, according to a news release.

“I’ve spent a good portion of my political life and career advocating for renewable energy, sustainability and common-sense practices. It just isn’t the role of government to dictate to corporations how they should invest their capital – as long as they abide by the law. When companies engage in sustainable practices while complying with regulatory frameworks, they can contribute to the betterment of our planet, our nation, and our society without compromising their bottom line,” she continued.

In the news release, Mayes touted the fact that Arizona left an investigation into six large banks over how the institutions invest in the fossil fuel and agricultural sectors. Critics have argued that ESG is politicized and does more harm than good.

The state was originally part of an investigation into the banks’ ESG practices under former Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The investigation specifically requested documents on the institutions’ ties to the United Nations (UN) Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). Net-zero refers to getting carbon emissions to almost nothing via neutralizing offsets.

“American banks should never put political agendas ahead of the secure retirement of their clients,” Brnovich said in a statement from October 2022, while he was still in office. “These financial institutions are entrusted with protecting a different type of green.”

His office said at the time that the ESG goals that may have been implemented by the banks could have possibly hurt “farmers, oil leasing companies, and other businesses” from getting loans.

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