Mar. 24, 2022

HARRISBURG – American financial giants are using social justice scores to determine eligibility to important monetary tools with the purpose of compelling certain behavior by businesses or be crushed by competitors. Reps. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon), Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) and Perry Stambaugh (R-Perry/Cumberland) have introduced legislation to prohibit this abhorrent practice.

Through the use of what are called environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores, banks, investment firms and finance institutions have been able to determine what businesses qualify for loans and other necessary services, like insurance, and which do not. 

Diamond’s Virtue, Liberty and Independence Act would prohibit any business or corporation doing business in the Commonwealth from using ESG scores as a sole condition of financing or providing services, to prevent ESG scores from being exclusively or primarily used in decision-making in consumer transactions, and to block state Treasury and retirement plans from exclusively utilizing ESG scores when making investment decisions.

“ESG scores no longer apply just to corporations. Merrill Lynch, for one, already applies ESG scores to clients’ investment portfolios,” Diamond said. “That the wallets of the money changers on Wall Street are only open for those who are woke has been doing more damage to our economy and long before Twitter started playing the cancel game - either you conform to and promote social justice views espoused by The Squad or face bankruptcy. That’s how the game is played now.”

Pennsylvania’s motto − Virtue, Liberty and Independence − embodies the role of the General Assembly to protect the God-given rights of its citizens from abuses and erosion. Our duty to defend the individual rights of Pennsylvanians soars above every other objective of governance.

Stambaugh is a proponent of the Virtue, Liberty and Independence Act. He is concerned the nation is reaching a point where people with “good” ESG scores may receive lucrative offers, easier loan terms, and even targeted packages designed to reward certain behaviors tied to subjective and ever-changing values and narratives.

“Many who espouse ESG ‘principles’ believe access to capital is not a right, but a privilege. They contend that financial and business plan metrics should no longer drive investment − instead, their subjective version of ‘responsible and sustainable’ practices should,” Stambaugh said. “Using ESG scores to control behavior is perhaps the most insidious infringement on personal liberty. It’s only one step away from China’s social credit system, where those who disagree with Communist Party ideology and ‘values’ are punished with throttled internet speeds, banned from air travel and denied lodging.”

Rothman supports the legislation because institutions should not be choosing winners and losers based on whims.

“These are not the metrics that should be used in institutions’ decision-making. These business decisions should not be arbitrary and capricious, as that concept does not hold up to our country’s foundation of capitalism,” Rothman said.

Representative Russ Diamond
102nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Charles Lardner
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