"I've met with at least five of the candidates in this campaign cycle. I meet with policy makers all the time to understand the implications for our clients," Fink wrote. "That's my job."
During the debate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and activist/entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy blasted Haley for taking a meeting with Fink – "Larry Fink, the king of the woke industrial complex, the ESG movement, the CEO of BlackRock, the most powerful company in the world, now supporting Nikki Haley," Ramaswamy said, calling Haley "corrupt."
Haley said that DeSantis and Ramaswamy were "just jealous" of her wealthy donors.
Both DeSantis and Ramaswamy have been vocal in their opposition to so-called "ESG" investing – an investing strategy that takes environmental, social, and governance factors into account. Earlier this year, DeSantis signed a sweeping anti-ESG bill in Florida preventing state officials from putting public money into ESG-related funds. Ramaswamy is the author of a book arguing against the pursuit of "woke" ideals in corporations and built a business called Strive that appeals to conservative state pension funds.
During the debate, DeSantis claimed that Fink and BlackRock "want to use economic power to impose a left-wing agenda on this country. They want, basically, to change society without having to go through the constitutional process."
DeSantis added that "the next president of our country needs to be able to go to that (Oval) Office one Day 1 and end ESG."
Fink, once a champion of ESG investing, has backed away from the term, saying in June that it had been "unfortunately politicized and weaponized" by both Democrats and Republicans, and that he was "ashamed" to be part of the debate.
In his Dec. 7 post, Fink shook his head at what he called "political silly season" and denied DeSantis' claims (though he did not use DeSantis' name) that BlackRock was pursuing an ideological agenda.
"The only agenda we have is delivering for our clients," Fink wrote. A link to the full post is available here.