Posted: August 26, 2022 by the Nerve
South Carolina is among a group of states investigating a major investment management and ratings company for potential violations connected to liberal environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities, The Nerve has confirmed.
Last week, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that 18 other state attorneys general had joined his state’s investigation of Chicago-based Morningstar Inc. and its subsidiary, Sustainalytics.
“These ESG investing firms are playing politics with pensions and real people’s livelihoods,” Schmitt said in a prepared statement.
The release didn’t identify the 18 other states. In a written statement last week to The Nerve, Robert Kittle, spokesman for Republican S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, said the S.C. Attorney General’s Office “signed onto that,” though he declined further comment, citing the pending investigation and referring The Nerve to Schmitt’s release.
Wilson also recently joined Republican state attorneys general in two other ESG-related matters, records show. Wilson is the current chairman of the national Republican Attorneys General Association.
Critics say ESG scores are being used by banks, investment and accounting firms, and credit rating agencies to grade companies on how well they have adopted certain liberal policies or values, such as reducing the effects of climate change, increasing diversity on their governing boards, and supporting social justice causes.
The Nerve in recent months has been investigating the ESG movement in South Carolina. Several S.C. lawmakers, including Sen. Josh Kimbrell, R-Spartanburg, introduced ESG-related bills earlier this year.
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