December 18, 2022 Dear Representative Jordan, A number of my liberal friends have sent me the December 6, 2022 letter you and some of your colleagues in the House sent to Ms. Mindy Lubber, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Ceres, and Mr. Simiso Nzima, Managing Investment Director, Global Equity, CalPERS.
Let me say up front I'm a little disappointed I wasn't even copied on the letter since the topic you address, 'ESG policies,' is a domain where I have a certain degree of expertise and recognition. But it's a Sunday and Christmas is one week from today so, being in a charitable spirit, I will put my hurt feelings aside and take the liberty of writing you anyway. The issues you raise are important ones and my input might be helpful.
Christmas greeting cards with christmas decorations and text Merry Christmas and Happy New Yeargetty
You were writing Ms. Lubber and Mr. Nzima since both of their organizations are co-founders of Climate Action 100+, 'an investor-led initiative to ensure the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.' This is for their own long-term prosperity, creating value for their shareholders, and contributing to job creation and vibrant communities in both red states and blue. However, you seem to see this rather differently since you say, 'In short, you and your organizations appear to play major roles in efforts to advance ESG policies. We therefore write to request information about related conduct or agreements that may be unlawful under U.S. antitrust laws.' Okay, you're a lawyer (with a degree from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio) and I'm not, but gotta say that invoking antitrust laws with an NGO and a state pension fund seems like a pretty big stretch to me. However, I'm not writing about the validity of this contention. We'll let the courts decide on this--on the remote chance it ever gets to them. Rather, the purpose of this letter is to try to clarify some misunderstanding you have about ESG. As I've done in other missives to your fellow Republicans, such as 'A Thanksgiving Day Memo To Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' and a 'A Tutorial On ESG Investing In the Oil And Gas Industry For Mr. Pence And His Friends' (maybe you're one of them ?). But before doing so, let me put my cards on the table. I'm a Democrat so I didn't know much about you. Thus, I checked you out on your very informative official Congressional website. I learned that you are Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and on the House Oversight Committee. And, no doubt, have a good chance to succeed Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York as Chairman of the former. Fingers crossed for you on that!WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member Rep. Jim ... [+] Jordan (R-OH), pauses while speaking after a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Capitol Hill on October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was on Capitol Hill to testify before the committees as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)Getty Images
Excited to learn more about you, I discovered that you were the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee in the 112th Congress. Perhaps one of its current members sent you my little piece 'Some Reflections On An RSC Memo, ExxonMobil, And Tesla'? In it I pointed out areas where we are in agreement and areas where we are not. I am in a bipartisan mood that extends beyond the holidays.
I also learned that you are 'one of the most conservative members of Congress.' While the term 'conservative' seems to be shifting in meaning, I'll take your word for this and put you in the 99th percentile on the Conservative Index. To anyone who would challenge me giving you this high mark, I will point out that you are one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus and its first Chairman. Very impressive!
Also impressive, but probably known by fewer people unless they have been following high school and college sports in Ohio for some time, is that you were 'a four-time state champion in wrestling with a career record of 150-1' and that you were 'a two-time NCAA wrestling champion.' I can see this in your clean cut, square-jawed, fit Midwestern look! Wrestling is grueling sport, and you are deservedly proud of this amazing record. I can understand why this information is included in the first two sentences of your official biography.
I have never been a wrestler so I can't even pretend to be jealous. In fact, I'm not really all that athletic but let me make a little boast. I started weightlifting 11 years ago when I was 60 years old and set a PR of 410 pounds in the deadlift 10 years later. In this regard, my hero is Eddie Hall who is the first man to have deadlifted 500 kg.LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Eddie Hall, who was recently crowned the worlds strongest man, poses ... [+] for a portrait after setting a new World Record for the Silver Dollar Deadlift at Random House on October 18, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)Getty Images
Just to share a bit more personal biography of my own before getting to the substance of this letter. When it comes to politics, in terms of the Progressive Index, I'd be at the 50th percentile at best. Please don't tell my ultra-liberal friends, but I'm actually pretty conservative (in the pre-Trump era meaning of the word) on certain topics. So much so that I happily voted twice for Republican Charlie Baker to be Governor of Massachusetts and even donated to his campaign. These donations were admittedly small because my career has been that of an academic, but here my credentials aren't all that paltry.
I grew up in very modest circumstances in a Denver suburb and put myself through college and graduate school. I got two bachelor's degrees from MIT in four years--in Pure Mathematics and History and Social Sciences. I have master's and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University in Sociology. I was a tenured professor at the Harvard Business School before retiring and now have an appointment at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford. I've also taught at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Given this experience, I hope you don't feel I'm boasting when I say I know a bit about research.
Which is what led me to be particularly intrigued about the footnotes in your letter. You know how we academics are. Always looking at the footnotes to see if we've been cited ! This, too, was another source of disappointment. But, like I said, Christmas is fast approaching so I'm willing to put that aside as well.
The bigger issue is my concern about the shoddy quality of the research done by your staff. I would have expected better from them in an important six-page letter with 28 footnotes. I'm afraid this could reflect poorly on you. In short, many, if not most, of the references reflect only end of the political spectrum. The extreme end--where you are. Arguments are always more powerful when they cite both sides, but I get that you have an agenda. I'm looking to tone down the unfortunate political polarization around ESG and climate change that is taking place in this country. You, Sir, are inflaming it.Detail shot of a Nautilus shell