Interview: Onetime Trump Appointee Helps Spark Sweeping ESG Backlash

Andy Puzder was interviewed for this article which originally appeared on Bloomberg.com on Nov. 20, 2022.


(Bloomberg) -- A fiery attack by former US Vice President Mike Pence. A first-of-its-kind law in Idaho that takes aim at ESG. A slew of similar bills expected to be introduced in red states next year.


These anti-ESG moves all have one thing in common: Andy Puzder.


A critic of minimum-wage laws, paid sick leave and other regulations, the fast-food magnate has emerged as a central figure in motivating an ambitious network of like-minded conservatives across red America in the war against ESG. These state officials and Republican activists — a coalition that includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the influential conservative operative Leonard Leo — are taking aim at major corporations like BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager.


Their goal: to roll back the $40 trillion global business of environmental, social and governance investing, or at least score political points by trying.


What started as a scattershot, state-by-state effort is now a coordinated, nationwide campaign — one that promises to gather force now that Republicans maintained control of most state legislatures in the midterms and DeSantis emerges as a possible presidential candidate for 2024. House Republicans have said they plan to probe ESG in congressional hearings next year, and Puzder says he’s already been contacted by them to discuss that potentiality.


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This article was authored by Andy Puzder for the National Review on November 15, 2022. The asset manager’s policies are making it a target for attorneys general and state treasurers around the country