EXCLUSIVE: Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stark warning concerning the growing calls for corporations to adopt environment, social and governance (ESG) investment priorities, describing them as a way for the political left to use corporate power to achieve their goals.
In his new book, "The Courage to be Free: Florida's Blueprint for American Revival," DeSantis writes that the trend of corporations entering "culture wars" is being driven by left-wing company employees pressuring their executives to reflect their political values and "woke" CEOs using their corporate bully pulpit to exert their influence.
"This is especially true as the movement for [ESG] responsibility within corporate America has gained traction," he wrote.
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ESG, short for environmental, social, and governance investing, is based on the concept that investors should use these three broad categories when evaluating where to put their money, prioritizing progressive values and "social responsibility" when making financial decisions.
"ESG provides a pretext for CEOs to use shareholder assets to target issues like reducing the use of fossil fuels and restricting Second Amendment rights. It is, in effect, a way for the political left to achieve through corporate power what they cannot achieve at the ballot box," DeSantis wrote.
Other Republicans, and some Democrats, have joined DeSantis in pushing back against ESG, including those in Congress seeking to end a controversial rule implemented earlier this month by the Biden administration's Department of Labor that allows private retirement plan fiduciaries to consider ESG factors when making investment decisions for their clients: more than 150 million Americans.
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Senate Republicans, along with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have introduced a resolution challenging the rule, and the Republican-led House is expected to vote this week using the Congressional Review Act to try and roll it back.
DeSantis' new book is set to be released Tuesday by publisher HarperCollins and aims to showcase his governing thesis that fighting for conservative principles paid off for Florida and could benefit other states and even the whole country.
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It's also the latest move by the Florida governor reinforcing rumors he's closer to launching a 2024 presidential bid.
As a rumored candidate, he has led former President Donald Trump, and a number of other candidates, in a few early primary polls. He has not yet hinted at what decision he'll ultimately make.
Fox News' Aaron Kliegman and Thomas Phippen contributed to this report.