ICYMI: Centerline Liberties Earns Accolades in Forbes Column for Championing FreeMarket ESG Principles


WASHINGTON – A column published today in Forbes applauded Centerline Liberties for its work championing free-market principles when it comes to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy formulation. Earlier this year, Centerline joined a group of nine center-right taxpayer advocacy organizations and individuals in putting forth a set of investment principles meant to drive economic growth, innovation, and progress related to ESG. This release was covered exclusively by Axios.

Centerline’s initiatives – specifically the congressional letter, addressed to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services discouraged bans or mandates targeting the investment decisions of individuals, pension funds, or businesses – are noted by Forbes columnist Robert Eccles as a “return to traditional conservative values in an effort to restore some economic rationality in red states”:

“On January 18, 2024 an organization called Centerline Liberties (Centerline) issued a press release titled ‘Center-Right Taxpayer Advocacy Leaders Unveil Free-market, Pro-growth Investment Principles Related to ESG.’ Despite my rather deep involvement in the “ESG Culture Wars,” I was surprised to see this group of center-right organizations and individuals wade into the debate with a nuanced approach. On first glance, simply seeing the word ‘center-right’ it would be fair to assume that this is just a more intelligent objection to ESG than what is coming out of more conservative corners of the Republican party such as think tanks like the Heartland Institute and the Heritage Foundation, some Republican members of the House of Representatives, and red state governors and legislatures. I have written about the efforts of Congressman Jim Jordan, Governor Ron DeSantis, and red state anti-ESG legislation. (Stay tuned for more on Heartland and Heritage.)

“What Centerline is doing is refreshing and sensible. Its press release announces that “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 in a January 18, 2024 letter to the Chairman [Patrick McHenry (R-NC)} and Ranking Member [Maxine Waters (D-CA)} 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 opens: ‘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.’”


“While the letter calls on ESG extremism on both sides (largely exclusions and divestments of fossil fuel companies on the left and anything ESG more broadly on the right), my reading is that their target is more the right, which makes sense given it’s where their strongest policy relationships exist. It makes strategic sense as well given the astonishing amount of time and energy being expended in red states to pass anti-ESG legislation in many forms.

“For those of you who want to keep track of all the crazy fun, Pleiades Strategy provides an online tracking tool of anti-ESG legislation in 28 red states. The ‘progress’ has been remarkable in terms of the growth in activity, but much less so in terms of bills passed as business and investor groups have pushed back, like in Wyoming. In 2021, 28 bills were introduced in 13 red states. In 2024 there are currently 154 bills, 58 being carryovers from 2023 and 96 introduced this year already. Only 42 have been passed in 18 states.

“The bills vary in terms of how draconian they are in terms of inhibiting how free markets are working in those states. Seventy of these bills are dead and more are likely to join them in their coffins… There are also nine bills in Arizona that almost certainly wouldn’t survive if they make it to the Democratic governor’s desk. In short, what a lot of performative wasted time, energy, and taxpayer dollars to either accomplish nothing or to make things worse for red state citizens, as I will show.”


“But when the legislation truly embodies the ideological, economically irrational, non-free market extreme of anti-ESG sentiment, the results can be devastating to the state’s own economic self-interest and its citizens. A good example of this is in the Lone Star state which, along with Arizona, is the only truly red state (Florida only makes it to orange, perhaps because of the sensible nature of House Bill 3) based on my color spectrum analysis. The Texas Association of Business Chambers of Commerce Fund (TABCCF) recently released the report, ‘The Potential Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Texas’ Fair Access Laws.’ According to the TABCCF study, during 2022-2023, the Texas anti-ESG legislation resulted in an estimated:

  • $668.7 million lost in economic activity.
  • $180.7 million in decreased annual earnings.
  • 3,034 fewer full-time, permanent jobs.
  • $37.1 million in losses to State and local tax revenue.

“The study asserts: ‘These findings illustrate that when government attempts to mandate values, no matter what kind to businesses, the market loses.’”

The article concludes with Centerline Board Chair James Dozier’s iteration of Centerline’s continued focus in this important subject area:

“Across America, we are beginning to see the true costs to taxpayers and pension funds stemming from anti-free market laws. Just as policymakers must make the most informed decisions possible to benefit their constituents, Centerline will continue to make the conservative case against extreme economic boycotts and bans proposed by either party. We believe that once state and federal leaders see the economic impact data, they will agree there is no upside in fighting culture war issues with taxpayer and pension fund dollars.”

Read the entire column here