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Biden Targets Retirement Benefits to Pursue Radical ESG Agenda, Attorney General Jeff Landry Fights Back in Lawsuit

Department of Labor rule would undermine key protections for retirement savings of 158 million American workers

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has joined Louisiana in a 25-state lawsuit over a Biden Department of Labor rule threatening the retirement accounts of millions of Americans. The rule would allow 401(k) managers to direct their clients’ money to ESG (Environmental Social Governance) investments and runs contrary to the laws outlined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

“Once again, I am forced to sue the Biden Administration to stop another egregious government overreach and to protect the retirees in Louisiana,” explained Attorney General Landry. “Investments should be made using sound economic principles, not woke policies. These firms have a responsibility to invest with their clients’ best financial interests in mind, rather than Biden’s disastrous agenda.”

“The Biden Administration is promoting its climate change agenda by putting everyday people’s retirement money at risk,” said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. “Americans are already suffering from the current economic downturn. Permitting asset managers to direct hard-working Americans’ money to ESG investments puts trillions of dollars of retirement savings at risk in exchange for someone else’s political agenda. We are acting with urgency on this case because this illegal rule is set to take effect next week. It must be stopped.”

“This rule is an affront to every American concerned about their retirement account,” added Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “The fact that the Biden Administration is now opting to risk the financial security of working-class Americans to advance a woke political agenda is insulting and illegal. For generations, federal law has required that fiduciaries place their clients’ financial interests at the forefront, and I intend to fight the Biden Administration in court to ensure that they cannot put hard-working Americans’ retirement savings at risk.”

The new rule, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” will take effect on January 30, 2023. Two-thirds of the U.S. population’s retirement savings accounts would be affected, totaling $12 trillion in assets. Strict statutory safeguards in ERISA are intended to protect retirement savings from unnecessary risk.

As noted in the lawsuit, the 2022 Investment Duties Rule makes changes that authorize fiduciaries to consider and promote “nonpecuniary benefits” when making investment decisions. Contrary to Congress’s clear intent, these changes make it easier for fiduciaries to pursue their own political and social agendas. They also make it harder for beneficiaries to police such conduct.

Joining Attorneys General Landry, Reyes, and Paxton in this lawsuit are their colleagues from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.