As lawmakers in the Texas Capitol work to prohibit state investments from going to companies that boycott reliable energy, some lobbyists are working against the effort.
A report from the American Accountability Foundation reveals Ancira Strategic Partners, Sampson Public Affairs, and Spreen Consulting are representing BlackRock, an investment company that has become intertwined in the debate over “Environmental, Social, and Governance” investing.
Put simply, ESG investing is a form of “stakeholder capitalism,” which prioritizes investments based on social or political desires rather than strictly on profits.
In a research memo distributed to Capitol offices, the organization warns lawmakers about the lobby groups:
While we begrudge no individual in making an honest living, and are sure [BlackRock] pays healthy fees, we believe protecting the conservative Texans livelihoods and pensions ought to be a higher priority.
BlackRock’s fees benefit all the lobbyists at Ancira, Sampson, and Spreen so when one of their lobbyists complains that they aren’t on the BlackRock account they should be reminded that the BlackRock fees help keep the lights on at their firm.
Notably, Ancira Strategic Partners is headed up by Jesse Ancira, who previously served as chief of staff and general counsel to disgraced former House Speaker Joe Straus.
Both the Ancira and Sampson lobbying groups also tout Las Vegas Sands as a client, the pro-gambling organization attempting to bring casinos to the Lone Star State.
Spreen Consulting, meanwhile, notably lists a portfolio of energy and gas companies among its clients, including Comstock Resources, DG Petro Oil & Gas, EXCO Resources, Wasser Operating, and Williams Companies.
BlackRock has been critical of reliable energy sources, with the organization quoted as publishing, “If the world wants to reach net zero by 2050, the use of coal, gas and oil needs to decline at a much faster clip than it would under current policies or pledges.”
“We encourage you to send a message to these firms that until they show BlackRock and their oil & gas hating policies the door, don’t come knocking on your door for a meeting whether it is about BlackRock or one of their other clients,” the American Accountability Foundation advises lawmakers.
Texas Scorecard recently released an investigative report detailing how ESG operates.
Meanwhile, legislation moving through the Texas Legislature would bar Texas’ university funds from investing with companies that boycott Texas energy.