by Charlotte Hazard
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has threatened to take legal action over Environmental, Social and Governance investments made by the nonprofit organization National Association of Attorneys General.
ESG investment strategies, increasingly prevalent among large-asset management firms, try to leverage investors’ assets to steer corporate decision-making to promote progressive social and environmental priorities.
“Enough is enough,” the attorney general wrote in a letter Wednesday. “I have come to the conclusion that NAAG can no longer be trusted to hold assets on behalf of Montana, assets that are meant to benefit the people of Montana, or any other Montana-linked money.”
He also wrote: “There is no doubt in my mind now that NAAG is an unreliable and improper financial steward, and that Montana’s share of the money at NAAG needs to come home.”
Elected officials in other states including West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore have pushed back against ESG by not investing state assets with financial institutions that boycott energy companies.
O.H Skinner, the director of Alliance for Consumers praised the Montana attorney general for the action taken against ESG.
“Kudos to Attorney General Knudsen for saying enough is enough,” Skinner wrote. “NAAG has a track record of hiding the ball from its members, and playing games with its money, including investing in foreign stocks, financing foreign trips, and acting like an unaccountable slush fund. We’ve been calling this behavior out and stand ready to support General Knudsen and any other Attorneys General who take action to protect their public money.”
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