Center-Right Taxpayer Advocacy Leaders Unveil Free-market, Pro-growth Investment Principles Related to ESG

Leaders encourage Congress to defend market-informed investment decisions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 18, 2024

Washington, D.C.: On Thursday, nine center-right taxpayer advocacy leaders announced a set of investment principles to Members of Congress meant to drive economic growth, innovation, and progress related to ESG. The principles were unveiled today in a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services to discourage bans or mandates targeting the investment decisions of individuals, pension funds, or businesses. 

The letter was signed by Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union, David Williams, President, Taxpayer Protection Alliance, Devin Hartman, Director, R Street, James Dozier, President, Centerline Liberties, Chris Barnard, President, American Conservation Coalition, former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo, Thomas Kingsley, Director, American Action Forum, Nick Loris, Vice President, C3 Solutions, and John Szoka, CEO of Conservative Energy Network.

“When government bureaucrats and regulators select corporate winners and losers, it’s often the taxpayers that get the raw end of the deal. These principles, which will safeguard investor freedom, are wisely meant to assist state and federal policymakers in rejecting the creep of big government by embracing responsible, free market principles that are pro-growth and protect the hard-earned savings of taxpayers,” said former U.S. Congressman Carlos Curbelo.

“The seven principles outlined in this ‘Investing in Prosperity and Freedom’ blueprint are of great importance to the nation’s taxpayers, and merit careful attention from policymakers at all levels of government. Taxpayers are currently facing roughly $1.3 trillion in unfunded state government pension liabilities. Pension fund administrators should not be politically pressured to divest from, or invest in, specific financial approaches when balancing return and risk is more vital than ever before. Nor should states create political pressure to do business or not with specific institutions, which in turn could make government borrowing more expensive and raise the specter of higher property taxes. Governments should think of their fiduciary duty to taxpayers first, last, and always, and our principles are a timely reminder of that duty for every public official, regardless of ideology,” said Pete Sepp, President of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

“Sadly, both sides of the political spectrum are attempting to politicize the investment decisions of American businesses. Policymakers should abide by these principles, allowing private entities to invest their assets how they see fit, in accordance with existing laws. There are enough issues facing governments across the nation without expanding their authority further into this area,” said Dan Savickas, Director of Policy at Taxpayer Protection Alliance.

“Policymakers should defend and safeguard investor freedom, not use the cudgel of the government to limit, dictate or ban what individuals and businesses want to do. Protecting investments from politicization will be best for retirees and the teachers, firefighters and other public servants relying on a public pension – all while using the powerful force of markets to drive environmental progress forward,” said Nick Loris, Vice President of C3 Solutions.

“It’s time that policymakers end their pursuit of politically motivated bans and boycotts that are leading to market distortions. Conservative leaders must return to the basics and pursue an economic agenda centered on limited-government, pro-business policies that don’t dictate how investment decision are made,” said James Dozier, Board President of Centerline.

“The best environmental outcomes occur when we lead with market solutions and allow businesses to conduct business without meddlesome government interference, no matter the agenda. The freedom to invest is something all Americans should believe in,” said Danielle Butcher Franz, CEO of American Conservation Coalition.

“Businesses need to be free to manage risk in their investments free of the heavy hand of government. Government attempts to mandate or prohibit companies from investing in specific industries could have severe economic consequences,” said Devin Hartman, director at R Street


January 18, 2024

The Honorable Patrick McHenry                    The Honorable Maxine Waters

Chairman                                                           Ranking Member

Committee on Financial Services                   Committee on Financial Services

U.S. House of Representatives                      U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Chairman McHenry and Ranking Member Waters,

We, the undersigned organizations, write to Congress concerning a noticeable increase in heavy-handed policy and rulemaking focused on environmental and social considerations, sometimes referred to as “ESG,” which has resulted in market distortions and reduced economic freedom. These politically motivated actions, driven by extreme positions in both parties, carry outsized ramifications for taxpayers, families, and businesses in a time of intense change and grave economic uncertainty.

Safeguarding Americans’ investments is paramount. Governments already have all the tools to protect investors, empower markets, provide clarity, and avoid politicization. There is no need to pass more bans or mandates targeting the investment decisions of individuals, pension funds, or businesses. Our elected leaders must resist the urge to empower government bureaucrats to pick winners and losers in the private sector. Ideologically driven mandates from both parties only harm average Americans’ retirement accounts and waste taxpayer dollars.

Today, our set of organizations are releasing a set of principles that can drive economic growth, innovation, and environmental progress:

  1. Reject the creep of Big Government interventions; Promote limited-government and pro-growth policies that eliminate red tape and reduce tax burdens.
  2. Protect pensions and investments from politicization. Do not ban nor mandate certain types of investment decisions that are outside the realm of maximizing return on investments by individuals or entities in the free market.
  3. Ensure fiduciaries uphold the Duty of Care and Loyalty at all times and act in the interests of their clients.
  4. Remove the shackles of government and allow businesses, pension funds, and individuals to responsibly plan for future uncertainties in a time of rising prices and increased debt.
  5. Encourage business-friendly environments with free and informed capital. Do not interfere with the free flow of capital.
  6. Allow businesses to voluntarily adopt sustainable practices or address the social considerations of their workforce free from government mandates.
  7. Keep the government out of boardrooms and reject politically motivated efforts to steer government business away from or towards certain companies based on narrow political agendas.

As you assess the potential for legislation or regulatory action this year, we ask that Congress defend and preserve the freedom of individuals, pension funds, and corporations to make market-informed investment decisions that are grounded in pro-growth and pro-freedom guiding principles.


Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

David Williams, President, Taxpayer Protection Alliance

Devin Hartman, Director, R Street

James Dozier, President, Centerline

Chris Barnard, President, American Conservation Coalition

Nick Loris, Vice President, C3 Solutions

Thomas Kingsley, Director, American Action Forum

Carlos Curbelo, former Member of Congress

John Szoka CEO Conservative Energy Network