By: The Federalist
West Virginia Republican Treasurer Riley Moore axed his state’s relationship with BlackRock last month over the $10 trillion investment firm’s dual loyalty to Chinese interests and woke capitalism.
“As the state’s chief financial officer and chairman of the Board of Treasury Investments, I have a duty to ensure that taxpayer dollars are managed in a responsible, financially sound fashion which reflects the best interests of our state and country, and I believe doing business with BlackRock runs contrary to that duty,” Moore said in a press release at the time.
Now the colossal Wall Street firm is void of oversight for the state’s investment fund, a liquid account worth approximately $1.5 billion. While it might not be much money to BlackRock, Moore tells The Federalist, it’s “a hell of a lot for the people of West Virginia,” and far too much to park with an investment firm infected by corporate wokeism working to defraud the state’s more than 1.7 million residents.
Despite holding $85 billion in coal assets as of January last year, BlackRock has emphasized its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions, a near-term pledge incompatible with a flourishing energy industry reliant on instantaneous power provided by fossil fuels. The commitment while fostering Chinese investment has prompted well-founded skepticism about whether BlackRock has the best interests of its clients at stake.
Last week, the educational nonprofit Consumers’ Research unveiled a multi-million-dollar campaign to expose BlackRock’s close ties with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The watchdog published a new website on BlackRock’s CEO, WhoIsLarryFink.com, and debuted new ads for TV and radio complemented by mobile billboards in New York City, where the firm is headquartered.
“Larry Fink and BlackRock are really delivering a one-two punch to the American economy,” Consumers’ Research Executive Director Will Hild told The Federalist. “One the right hand they’re using the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) scam to hamper American companies and make it harder to serve American consumers, on the left hand they’re funneling billions of dollars to the Chinese communist owned business to help them build the Chinese economy.”
The campaign comes on the heels of a letter Hild sent in December to 10 governors, including West Virginia, warning both consumers and governments about BlackRock’s relationship with China, where the leading investment firm has made cultivating Chinese assets a priority. Fink admitted that much in his 2020 letter to shareholders at the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
“I continue to firmly believe China will be one of the biggest opportunities for BlackRock over the long term, both for asset managers and investors, despite the uncertainty and decoupling of global systems we’re seeing today,” Fink wrote in a passage now deleted from the letter currently on the company’s website. By August of the same year, BlackRock was awarded the first entirely foreign-owned mutual fund operating in China.
“BlackRock’s funneling of billions in U.S. capital to China carries with it risks not present in other markets, risks that threaten the large wagers the company is putting on steep returns from the Middle Kingdom,” Hild warned governors late last year. “Chinese firms are not held to the same transparency standards as their western counterparts, so foreign investors are often hard pressed to appreciate the true risk profile of what they’re investing in.”
More than $75 billion in pension funds among the states reporting such data, meanwhile, remain in BlackRock’s hands, according to Consumers’ Research.
Some conservative policymakers have begun to heed Hild’s warning, motivated also by Wall Street’s growing ideological hostility to fossil fuels. Beyond Moore’s efforts in West Virginia, lawmakers in Texas and Florida have also made moves to counteract BlackRock’s undue influence.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis recently moved to strip proxy vote power over state finances from companies that foster investment in China while managing taxpayer dollars. That would include BlackRock, which oversees billions from Florida’s pensions and investment funds. According to Bloomberg, BlackRock held $227 million in a fund focused on Chinese markets in late June.
“The state pension plan has also invested in separate private equity and investment funds with exposure to China in particular,” Bloomberg reported.
Further west in Texas, the company hired a team of lobbyists in Austin to protect its more than $20 billion handled as legislators prepare to follow Moore’s lead in withdrawing state business from the New York firm. After years of railing against fossil fuels in the name of politically correct investment practices, corporate executives are now engaged in double-speak to protect its access to public funds.
In January, Alex Epstein, the founder of Industrial Progress and author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” reported company leaders sent a memo reassuring lawmakers who govern the top oil producer in the country of BlackRock’s commitment to back the industry.
“We will continue to invest in and support fossil fuel companies, including Texas fossil fuel companies,” read the memo sent at the start of the year. Weeks later, Fink wrote again of the CEO’s desire for BlackRock to play a prominent role in achieving net-zero emissions.
It’s not just BlackRock beginning to feel the heat from proactive lawmakers moving to protect their constituents’ tax dollars from being used against them. All banks that spurn fossil fuels run the risk of alienating their relationships with state governments. In November, Moore led a coalition of 15 states pledging to park $600 billion in taxpayer assets in other institutions than those that bar investment in the industry.
“Just as each state represented in this letter is unique in its governing laws and economy, our actions will take different forms,” they wrote. “However, the overarching objective of our actions will be the same – to protect our states’ economies, jobs, and energy independence from these unwarranted attacks on our critical industries.”
While Moore’s $1.5 billion pulled from BlackRock last month might not be a sizeable figure for a $10 trillion-dollar firm, $600 billion remains nothing to blink at.
Other Republicans leading major oil-producing states, such as state treasurers in Ohio and Oklahoma, have remained apathetic as the movement grows to deter Wall Street financial firms from weaponizing taxpayer dollars against American taxpayers.