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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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March 16, 2023

Raoul Joins Coalition Asking to Veto Congressional Resolution Overturning U.S. Department of Labor Rule in Retirement Investing

Chicago Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 21 attorneys general, called on President Joe Biden to veto a joint resolution that would harm the retirement savings of American employees. If enacted, the joint resolution would overturn a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule that allows fiduciaries of private-sector employee retirement plans, like 401(k) plans, to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in making investment decisions.

This call to veto comes after the same coalition urged Senators not to pass the joint resolution, outlining in a letter how ESG factors have a critical impact on investment profits. The letter warned that if the DOL rule was invalidated, retirement funds would suffer. However, the Senate failed to heed the warning. The joint resolution is now on its way to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law or vetoed.

Raoul and the coalition’s letter asks President Biden to block the resolution from being signed into law, as part of his ongoing fight to protect the health, safety, and financial wellness of workers. 

“Retirement plans should be able to take into account impactful issues like climate change, which can significantly affect investment profits,” Raoul said. “Ignoring environmental, social and governance factors can result in serious financial losses for retirees who have worked hard and deserve to know their investments are based on a comprehensive assessment of their likely returns.”

For many people who work in the private sector, employee benefit plans can make up the majority of their retirement savings. Consideration of ESG factors can make a significant difference in the value of their savings and financial security in retirement. For example, rising temperatures and frequent severe weather already damage infrastructure, disrupt businesses and threaten public health in Illinois and across the United States. This has impacted a wide range of industries, including those fiduciaries might consider for investments.

In the letter, Raoul and the attorneys general assert that opposition to the DOL rule is part of a years-long campaign to obscure the truth that ESG factors, such as the impact of climate change, the benefits of diverse workforces, and the need for cybersecurity protections, affect businesses’ bottom lines.

In submitting the letter, Attorney General Raoul was joined by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.