Missouri Latest State To Divest From BlackRock Over 'Woke Political Agenda'

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 21, 2022 - 02:50 PM

Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Missouri plans to remove $500 million of its pension fund investments from BlackRock, making it the latest state to divest from the world’s largest asset manager in response to the company’s overt leftist agenda.

A sign for BlackRock Inc. on its building in New York, on July 16, 2018. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced the plans on Oct. 18.

The realignment followed Louisiana’s Oct. 5 announcement on its pending removal of $794 million from BlackRock, and divestments of $100 million and $125 million by Utah and Arkansas, respectively.

The withdrawals result from BlackRock’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives and its prioritization of a “woke political agenda.”

We should not allow asset managers such as BlackRock, who have demonstrated that they will prioritize advancing a woke political agenda above the financial interests of their customers, to continue speaking on behalf of the state of Missouri,” Fitzpatrick told Fox Business.

Fitzpatrick’s statement echoes Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder, who stated in an Oct. 5 letter to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, “Your blatantly anti-fossil fuel policies would destroy Louisiana’s economy. … We cannot be party to the crippling of our own economy.”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink attends a session at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 23, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

Republican States Say ‘Enough’

Over the past few years, BlackRock’s CEO has pursued an aggressive agenda focusing on shaping society to meet a specific political agenda.

In his 2022 letter to CEOs, Fink stated that “capitalism has the power to shape society and act as a powerful catalyst for change” and “when we harness the power of both the public and private sectors, we can achieve truly incredible things. This is what we must do to get to net zero.”

In his 2020 letter to CEOs, Fink wrote that BlackRock would significantly reallocate its capital from “investments that present a high sustainability-related risk, such as thermal coal producers,” and screen against investing in other fossil fuels. He then added a warning to CEOs.

“Last year, BlackRock voted against or withheld votes from 4,800 directors at 2,700 different companies. Where we feel companies and boards are not producing effective sustainability disclosures or implementing frameworks for managing these issues, we will hold board members accountable,” Fink wrote.

Fink and BlackRock are now facing their playbook as Republican-led states move to withdraw capital to achieve an objective—a retraction from BlackRock’s focus on ESG initiatives and promotion of a “woke agenda.”

Fitzpatrick accused BlackRock of breaching its fiduciary duty.

“Fiduciary duty must remain the top priority for investment managers—a duty some of them have abdicated in favor of forcing a left-wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively, on publicly traded companies,” Fitzpatrick wrote.

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