Governor Gordon Issues Line-Item Vetoes to Secretary of State’s ESG Investing Rules

After careful review of a rules package proposed by Secretary of State Chuck Gray on Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) investment disclosure and consent, Governor Mark Gordon has determined that parts of the rules go beyond the Secretary’s legal authority. As a result the Governor issued line item-vetoes of portions of the rules. 

The Governor has long-opposed any artificial implementation of ESG factors in investment strategies. 

“While I agree that ESG investment guidance is improper and misleading, the answer to too much government interference in our lives is not more government,” Governor Gordon said. “No government should have the right to direct people’s personal investment strategies.”

In a letter sent to Secretary Gray, Governor Gordon notes that by law he can only approve rules within the bounds set by statute. In the case of the proposed rules addressing ESG investing, the statute does not allow the government to tell individuals how they must invest their dollars. The consumer protection required by Wyoming and federal law speaks to transparency and disclosure only. Informed consumers should have the freedom to make their own investment choices. 

“To be clear, I agree with your efforts to better illuminate investment practice and strategy through disclosure. Properly informed investors are always better able to make good decisions for themselves,” Governor Gordon wrote.

“Our appetite to oppose radical and misguided ESG initiatives in Wyoming does not justify implementing rules beyond the scope of statutory authority or interfering in the personal investment choices of Wyoming citizens. Personal responsibility and liberty are sacred principles that are all too often usurped by government mandate,” he added.

In the letter, the Governor also noted that federal securities laws expressly prohibit state conflicts “in the regulation of (1) federally covered securities, (2) broker dealers, (3) federally covered investment advisors, (4) investment advisor representatives, and (5) securities agents.”

The Governor’s letter to the Secretary of State may be viewed here. A copy of the Governor’s line-item vetoes can be found here.