My Reply To The Letter From Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) I Didn’t Get

December 18, 2022

Pricey Consultant Jordan,

Numerous my liberal associates have despatched me the December 6, 2022 letter you and a few of your colleagues within the Home despatched to Ms. Mindy Lubber, the Chief Government Officer and President of Ceres, and Mr. Simiso Nzima, Managing Funding Director, International Fairness, CalPERS.

Let me say up entrance I’m slightly disenchanted I wasn’t even copied on the letter for the reason that matter you deal with, “ESG insurance policies,” is a website the place I’ve a sure diploma of experience and recognition. Nevertheless it’s a Sunday and Christmas 🎄 is one week from at the moment so, being in a charitable spirit, I’ll put my harm emotions apart and take the freedom of writing you anyway. The problems you increase are essential ones and my enter could be useful.

You had been writing Ms. Lubber and Mr. Nzima since each of their organizations are co-founders of Local weather Motion 100+, “an investor-led initiative to make sure the world’s largest company greenhouse gasoline emitters take needed motion on local weather change.” That is for their very own long-term prosperity, creating worth for his or her shareholders, and contributing to job creation and vibrant communities in each pink states and blue.

Nevertheless, you appear to see this moderately otherwise because you say, “In brief, you and your organizations seem to play main roles in efforts to advance ESG insurance policies. We subsequently write to request details about associated conduct or agreements which may be illegal underneath U.S. antitrust legal guidelines.” Okay, you’re a lawyer (with a level from Capital College Regulation College in Columbus, Ohio) and I’m not, however gotta say that invoking antitrust legal guidelines with an NGO and a state pension fund looks as if a reasonably large stretch to me. Nevertheless, I’m not writing concerning the validity of this rivalry. We’ll let the courts determine on this—on the distant probability it ever will get to them.

Reasonably, the aim of this letter is to attempt to make clear some misunderstanding you’ve got about ESG. As I’ve carried out in different missives to your fellow Republicans, resembling “A Thanksgiving Day Memo To Florida Governor Ron DeSantis” and a “A Tutorial On ESG Investing Within the Oil And Fuel Business For Mr. Pence And His Buddies” (perhaps you’re certainly one of them 😀?).

However earlier than doing so, let me put my playing cards on the desk. I’m a Democrat so I didn’t know a lot about you. Thus, I checked you out in your very informative official Congressional web site. I discovered that you’re Rating Member of the Home Judiciary Committee and on the Home Oversight Committee. And, little question, have probability to succeed Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York as Chairman of the previous. Fingers crossed for you on that!

Excited to be taught extra about you, I found that you just had been the Chairman of the Republican Examine Committee within the 112th Congress. Maybe certainly one of its present members despatched you my little piece “Some Reflections On An RSC Memo, ExxonMobil, And Tesla”? In it I identified areas the place we’re in settlement and areas the place we’re not. I’m in a bipartisan temper that extends past the vacations.

I additionally discovered that you’re “one of the conservative members of Congress.” Whereas the time period “conservative” appears to be shifting in that means, I’ll take your phrase for this and put you within the 99th percentile on the Conservative Index. To anybody who would problem me supplying you with this excessive mark, I’ll level out that you’re one of many founders of the Freedom Caucus and its first Chairman. Very spectacular!

Additionally spectacular, however most likely identified by fewer folks except they’ve been following highschool and faculty sports activities in Ohio for a while, is that you just had been “a four-time state champion in wrestling with a profession report of 150-1” and that you just had been “a two-time NCAA wrestling champion.” I can see this in your clear minimize, square-jawed, match Midwestern look! Wrestling is grueling sport, and you’re deservedly happy with this wonderful report. I can perceive why this data is included within the first two sentences of your official biography.

I’ve by no means been a wrestler so I can’t even faux to be jealous. In truth, I’m probably not all that athletic however let me make slightly boast. I began weightlifting 11 years in the past once I was 60 years previous and set a PR of 410 kilos within the deadlift 10 years later. On this regard, my hero is Eddie Corridor who’s the primary man to have deadlifted 500 kg.

Simply to share a bit extra private biography of my very own earlier than attending to the substance of this letter. In terms of politics, by way of the Progressive Index, I’d be on the 50th percentile at greatest. Please don’t inform my ultra-liberal associates, however I’m truly fairly conservative (within the pre-Trump period that means of the phrase) on sure subjects. A lot in order that I fortunately voted twice for Republican Charlie Baker to be Governor of Massachusetts and even donated to his marketing campaign. These donations had been admittedly small as a result of my profession has been that of a tutorial, however right here my credentials aren’t all that paltry.

I grew up in very modest circumstances in a Denver suburb and put myself by means of faculty and graduate college. I acquired two bachelor’s levels from MIT in 4 years—in Pure Arithmetic and Historical past and Social Sciences. I’ve grasp’s and Ph.D. levels from Harvard College in Sociology. I used to be a tenured professor on the Harvard Enterprise College earlier than retiring and now have an appointment on the Stated Enterprise College on the College of Oxford. I’ve additionally taught on the MIT Sloan College of Administration. Given this expertise, I hope you don’t really feel I’m boasting once I say I do know a bit about analysis.

Which is what led me to be significantly intrigued concerning the footnotes in your letter. You understand how we teachers are. All the time trying on the footnotes to see if we’ve been cited 🐥! This, too, was one other supply of disappointment. However, like I mentioned, Christmas is quick approaching so I’m prepared to place that apart as properly.

The larger difficulty is my concern concerning the shoddy high quality of the analysis carried out by your employees. I might have anticipated higher from them in an essential six-page letter with 28 footnotes. I’m afraid this might replicate poorly on you. In brief, many, if not most, of the references replicate solely finish of the political spectrum. The intense finish—the place you’re. Arguments are at all times extra highly effective after they cite either side, however I get that you’ve got an agenda. I do too. It’s simply totally different. I’m trying to tone down the unlucky political polarization round ESG and local weather change that’s going down on this nation. You, Sir, are inflaming it.

Right here’s the extra technical analysis drawback I need to deal with. You aren’t citing analysis or details. You’re merely echoing the opinions of people that share your views. This isn’t considerate argumentation. It’s echo-chamberism. Since there are 28 footnotes in your six-page letter, area doesn’t allow me to take care of all of them. Three examples will probably be enough for me to make my level.

Footnote 4. My first instance is your declare that “Woke firms are collectively adopting and imposing progressive coverage targets that American customers don’t need or don’t want.” Right here you cite two Wall Avenue Journal op-ed letters. One, “The ESG Motion Is a Ripe Goal for Antitrust Motion,”is by Sean Fieler, President and Chief Government Officer of Equinox Companions, an funding agency based mostly in Stamford, CT with 11 folks. Mr. Fieler has a bachelor’s diploma in Political Economic system from Williams School. No regulation diploma is cited on his LinkedIn web page. Which makes me slightly doubtful about his credentials for making this assertion a few moderately sophisticated authorized difficulty. However I suppose he has associates on the Journal to get this positioned there? BTW, you cite him 5 different instances (footnotes 11, 17, 22, 25, and 27). Looks like quite a lot of citations for a 700-word op-ed piece. Is that this man a pal of yours too? Don’t get me unsuitable. Buddies are good! Extra on this beneath.

The opposite is that now well-known 675-word letter by former Vice President Mike Pence, “Republicans Can Cease ESG Political Bias.” Within the Christmas spirit I’ll ignore the apparent irony right here, resembling his remark that “ESG is a pernicious technique, as a result of it permits the left to perform what it might by no means hope to attain on the poll field or by means of competitors within the free market. ESG empowers an unelected cabal of bureaucrats, regulators and activist traders to price corporations based mostly on their adherence to left-wing values.” Truly, as I’ve identified many instances, ESG is the administration of fabric danger components by corporations and traders to make sure long-term worth creation. It’s not political in any respect. It’s simply you and your ilk who’re attempting to make it so.

Listed here are some details which may make you slightly uncomfortable and sad together with your much less conservative fellow Republicans. In “Three Hypotheses About Republican Senior Executives And The Worrisome Drawback Of Wokeness” I talk about a tutorial paper by Professors Vyacheslav Fos of Boston School, Elisabeth Kempf of Harvard Enterprise College, and Margarita Tsoutsoura of Washington College in St. Louis. They present that 69 p.c of the highest executives within the S&P 1500 are, YIKES 😱, Republicans! I’m extremely doubtful that wokeness has taken over company America but when it has, it’s occurred on the watch of your guys, not my guys.

Please additionally contemplate the report “Navigating ESG Within the New Congress” by Penn State College and ROKK Options. This survey of 1,261 registered voters came upon “that Republican and Democratic voters facet with corporations moderately than legislators within the struggle on ‘wokeism.’ The consensus amongst voters surveyed was that corporations ought to be capable to train discretion to put money into ESG initiatives that profit society with out authorities interference.” There’s quite a lot of fascinating information on this report however right here’s only one instance to make the purpose. When requested whether or not “corporations needs to be held accountable to make a optimistic impression on communities during which they function,” 82 p.c of Democrats and 69 p.c of Republicans agreed that they need to be.

Footnotes 9 and 12. My second instance is your declare that ESG “robs Individuals of hard-earned earnings” and is “about coordinated efforts to choke of investments in oil and gasoline.” Right here you cite that well-known ESG guru and failed Republican Senator major candidate Arizona Lawyer Basic Mark Brnovich. I’m admittedly a tutorial purist and thus moderately skeptical of a Twitter tweet as legitimate help for an argument. I additionally famous that you just tucked in a few tweets from Vivek Ramaswamy—who I’ve written about earlier than right here and right here—in footnote 25. Your employees might be younger and tweet lots and they also assume that is actual analysis.

However credit score to Mr. Brnovich for increasing on this tweet in a (the place else?)Wall Avenue Journal 475-word letter during which he expresses the profound concern that “The largest antitrust violation in historical past could also be in plain sight. Wall Avenue banks and cash managers are bragging about their coordinated efforts to choke off funding in vitality. It’s almost unimaginable to boost cash to probe for oil and gasoline proper now, and we could all be experiencing rising vitality prices due to this market manipulation.” He continues that to counter this dreaded prospect, “I’ve launched an investigation into this doubtlessly illegal market manipulation.”

Mr. Brnovich is a lawyer, not an oil and gasoline analyst or investor, so I’ll give him a cross in not noticing that ExxonMobil’s market cap hit an all time excessive of $470 billion on November 15 and was at a cushty $430 billion on Friday, making it the eleventh largest firm on the earth by market cap. However Ida thought he caught the irony of President Joe Biden complaining that the corporate is doing so properly that it elevated its three-year share buyback program from $30 billion to $50 billion moderately than drilling for extra oil.

I see a sample rising right here. Cite opinions of people that share your opinion (none of which might be substantiated by details) and publish them in a newspaper which agrees with you (just like the Wall Avenue Journal—to which your crowd appears to have prepared entry nevertheless doubtful their {qualifications}) and that doesn’t care about details both. If this isn’t an echo chamber, what’s? For an instance of a balanced argument of professionals and cons that’s based mostly on details and information moderately than ideology and fantasy you would possibly discover it instructive to learn my piece “Wanting At Local weather Change By way of The Eyes Of ExxonMobil.”

Footnote 5. You declare that “A person firm’s use of company assets for progressive goals would possibly violate fiduciary duties or different legal guidelines, harming its viability and alienating prospects.” Right here’s the place your employees allow you to down Massive Time. One among your citations for this assertion is an article in West Virginia’s Information which begins by saying “State Treasurer Riley Moore is main West Virginia and a coalition of states to place banks on discover for taking part in politics with taxpayer {dollars}.” Then there’s the same old silly and monotonous fossil gasoline factor: “Moore and monetary officers in 15 different states wrote an open letter to the U.S. banking business, warning it in opposition to pulling investments from fossil gasoline industries or making selections about investments based mostly on political issues.”

If these Crimson treasurers say one thing is going on that isn’t taking place in actuality they’ll nonetheless name them boycotters and—gotta love the irony—boycott them! And perhaps make them watch this video, “Our Cash, Our Values – What Is ESG,” from the State Monetary Officers Basis? I’ve written about this polemical video with admiration for its implicit, however clever, dedication to range, fairness, and inclusion (DE&I).

However, ummm, couldn’t you at the very least reference the letter itself moderately than an area newspaper clipping? I’m not too proud to function your analysis assistant so I discovered for you the proud press launch from Mr. Moore’s workplace and the letter itself. Hope that’s useful! The letter is brief and candy. A web page and a half of textual content and a web page and a half of sweeping and stylish signatures. It’s merely addressed “To Whom It Might Concern within the U.S. Banking Business.” Since I’m not a member of the U.S. Banking Business I don’t really feel unhealthy that I didn’t get this one 🐥.

Once more, within the Christmas spirit, let me make you a suggestion. I’m certain you’re very excited concerning the Home hearings on ESG subsequent 12 months. Maybe you’re even in planning mode now. Thus, I’d be completely happy to have a chat with you, your employees, and any of your Republican Home colleagues that will help you put together for these essential hearings. Completed with good intent they could possibly be a helpful “educating second” for either side of the aisle. This could be another manner I’m going out of my option to have interaction with Republicans on ESG resembling:

· This piece I wrote with my long-time pal Dan Crowley (R), “Turning Down the Warmth on the ESG Debate: Separating Materials Danger Disclosures from Salient Political Points.” As you will note, we now have a shared view on the ESG debate.

· A webinar we did collectively sponsored by his regulation agency Ok&L Gates titled “ESG Isn’t ‘Woke,’ It’s Capitalism,” expertly moderated by one other Ok&L Gates accomplice, Karishma Web page. Once more, you will note that our views overlap way more than they diverge.

· One other webinar we did collectively hosted by the Bipartisan Coverage Heart (BPC) titled “The place Does The ESG Debate Go From Right here?” Dan and I had been joined by Aron Szapiro of Morningstar and it was adroitly moderated by Michele Nellenbach of the BPC. Your GOP Home colleague Rep. Invoice Huizenga (R-MI-4) gave some wonderful opening remarks in a Q&A he did with Tim Doyle (R), additionally of the BPC. Drawing on his actual property background, Mr. Huizenga emphasised that ESG is all about “materiality, materiality, materiality.” Not ideology. In his quarter-hour of constructive feedback, he didn’t use the phrase “woke” as soon as. I used to be the primary individual to talk after Mr. Huizenga and mentioned that I couldn’t agree with him extra. Could be price you having a chat with him.

· And an interview I did with a outstanding Republican former oil and gasoline CEO, Greg Goff, who’s now on the board of ExxonMobil titled “A Dialog With Greg Goff About The Power Transition And ESG.” Right here, too, I discover myself closely in settlement with what Mr. Goff has to say about the way to handle the required vitality transition and his views on ESG.

I talked about associates earlier in my letter. Hey, perhaps we might be associates too 😀! (I’ll be the man on the left since I put on glasses.) Certain, we now have a lot of variations. You might be very conservative. I’m pretty progressive. You had been a fantastic athlete. I wasn’t. I’ve a lot of fancy levels. You don’t. However we do have issues in widespread. Like we every have 4 youngsters. And we’re each Individuals.

On the off probability this letter will get to you and also you’d prefer to train some bipartisanship out of your facet, I might be reached at

Within the meantime, greatest needs for a Merry Christmas and all the very best for a fantastic 2023 when your staff is in control of the Home!


Robert G. Eccles

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Jean Nicholas

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