Attorney General Steve Marshall has actively opposed so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, especially as they are being used to force broader policy changes within American society.
During this week's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal," Marshall discussed his opposition as the state's top law enforcement official and as a member of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
According to Marshall, ESG policies have had a direct impact on Alabama already. However, he said they were also being used in ways that violate the traditional fiduciary role of investment advisers and could be potentially used to impact the credit ratings of local governments.
"It's been very much an issue for me for a while, and partly as the work I do leading the National Republican Attorneys General Association," he said. "You know, it has been kind of a multi-pronged attack. But we saw that very tangibly here in Alabama when the most recent bond issue, to be able to build these new prisons, which are very important for us to be able to do as a state. We weren't able to acquire all of the financing that we thought we should have, which the state clearly had a credit rating to get, because those on the left pushed against Alabama under this guise of over-incarceration or somehow another that we weren't doing criminal justice right. Part of ESG is really about access to the market for financing. We see that on multiple areas, but for us in Alabama, it was very much an adverse response to what should have been based on traditional financing principles, a very easy bond issue for us to be able to execute."
"And so, we see it on multiple layers," Marshall continued. "I'm really proud of Young Boozer for saying we're going to pull Alabama's assets out of BlackRock — BlackRock, who is advancing policies that don't necessarily lend themselves well to Alabama business and economic interests. But our work, number one, has been around protecting hard-working Alabamians who have got their money in IRAs and investment accounts when we have a Biden administration who wants to give protection to investment advisers to invest in ESG investments when they may not have the best return coming back because it is really a battle of the left to inject issues and create change that they can't get at the ballot box, particularly in a state like Alabama."
"And so, my effort and my work is to make sure we preserve this concept of what a fiduciary is — a fiduciary designed to make sure that they advance the financial interests of whom they represent," he added. "And then second, so that we don't allow these subjective criteria to be applied to cities and counties with regard to their own credit rating or the efforts of credit rating agencies to impose certain requirements on cities and counties that aren't a part of Alabama law. And beyond that, really is this antitrust work that we're attempting to investigate to see whether or not there is a combining of these entities that control significant trillions of dollars of assets to impose an agenda that otherwise is inconsistent with the law. So, I think it's an area that you'll continue to hear a lot more about, and you'll absolutely see me leading on across the state."
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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