Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has set his sights on the next horizon in his government’s battle in the so-called culture wars: “woke CEOs.”
The Republican governor, seen as a likely candidate for the 2024 presidential election, said during a press conference last week that he plans to take on money transfer giants, such as PayPal, as well as investment funds and banks that try to impose a supposed “woke ideology” on their potential customers. He also hopes to introduce a wave of legislative and executive initiatives that would hamper these companies’ ability to “discriminate” against customers based on their political or religious beliefs.
“Do we govern ourselves by our constitution and by our elections or do we have these masters of the universe occupying these commanding heights of society?” Governor DeSantis asked rhetorically on Wednesday as he stood in front of a sign bearing the words: “Government of laws. Not awake the CEOs.
Financial services, such as banks, credit card companies and transfer services “should not collude to marginalize people with whom they have political disagreements,” Gov. DeSantis said, before naming PayPal .
The San Jose, Calif.-based money transfer service recently drew the ire of the incendiary politician over an allegation that the tech company froze the account of a nonprofit based in Florida in April after raising funds to fight “gender ideology” taught in schools.
“[PayPal] cut off people they fundamentally disagree with,” said Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, according to Bloomberg News.
In April, the conservative group allegedly raised more than $100,000 before its account was frozen, Ms Descovich claimed, saying it ‘brutally shut down our organization’.
“They use things like social credit scores to be able to marginalize people they don’t like,” the Florida governor alleged, before citing the specific case of Moms for Liberty.
He also pointed to an earlier instance in February when online fundraising site GoFundMe shut down campaigns by those involved in the Canadian Trucker Protests, where protesters actually brought the nation’s capital to a screeching halt.
“We are also going to make it very clear that discrimination, especially in the financial sector, is not something we want to see here in the State of Florida,” Governor DeSantis continued, before offering that other states dominated by red – such as Texas, Tennessee and Arizona, could follow suit.
“We would have a lot of money, a lot of voting power under management,” he said, noting that the four southern belt states could serve as a “real check” against financial excesses.
The Florida governor’s remarks on the financial sector come shortly after the Security and Exchange Commission proposes new rules that would require publicly traded companies to step up their reporting on ESG – environment, social impact and corporate governance – Intel.
The federal agency announced possible changes to the documents filed by the company earlier this year. The initial hope for the changes is that the regulatory watchdog might curb some of the unchecked greenwashing — essentially, companies claiming to achieve environmentally friendly goals without ever committing to real action — that has taken off in as green investments have become increasingly popular.
One of the proposed new rules would require these companies to disclose the possible risks of an investment with the company with the climate crisis; specifically, by describing how extreme weather events such as droughts, hurricanes, floods or even supply chain crises caused by extreme weather conditions could impact the value of the business.
Another suggestion the SEC made as a requirement was for companies to disclose data on their emissions, both directly (eg, from pollution created by manufacturing plants) and indirectly (eg, through use of electricity used to power an office building).
Details of Governor DeSantis’ executive and legislative proposals have yet to be fully announced, but one detail he made explicit during his Wednesday speech was that he intended to have pension managers invest in the state in funds based solely on the ability of the investment to generate a profit, and disregarding any other consideration.