Arizona will divest its pension fund from BlackRock over the asset manager’s shift toward left-wing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies, the state’s treasurer said in a Thursday statement.
Treasurer Kimberly Yee (R.) said BlackRock has “moved from a traditional asset manager to a political action committee,” causing Arizona in February to start divesting “more than $543 million from BlackRock money market funds.” The Grand Canyon State also reduced its “direct exposure to BlackRock by 97 percent this year.”
Arizona is not the first state to pull its assets from BlackRock. Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis (R.) this month divested his state’s assets from the company, saying BlackRock focuses more on ESG than on producing returns for Floridians. BlackRock was one of many left-leaning companies to invest in the cryptocurrency firm FTX, which went bankrupt last month. FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, a Democratic megadonor who pledged $1 billion to the party’s candidates in the midterms, is now under federal investigation for defrauding investors.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, meanwhile, faces an investigation led by 19 state attorneys general for prioritizing “left-wing political initiatives over shareholder returns,” the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Yee in her statement also calls out Fink’s politicization of the company. According to Arizona’s Investment Risk Management Committee, Fink dictates that businesses “follow his personal political beliefs,” Yee said.
The Arizona treasurer said she will “continue to fight back against the dangerous path of companies pushing their social issues and wokeism.”