Case Name: Braun, Luehrs v. Walsh
Type of Case: Equality Under the Law
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
Filed On: February 21, 2023
Current Status: Filed PI Motion in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on February 28, 2023
WILL SUES BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OVER ILLEGAL ESG RULE
February 21, 2023 | Attorneys with The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) represented two Wisconsinites, filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The suit challenges a new rule permitting the use of environmental, social, and governance (commonly referred to as “ESG”) factors in retirement investing.
WILL REQUESTS PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO HALT BIDEN’S ILLEGAL ESG RULE
February 28, 2023 | Attorneys with The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a preliminary injunction in this lawsuit against the U.S. Secretary of Labor.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE HIGHLIGHTS WILL’S ESG LAWSUIT
March 9, 2023 | Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, commended WILL and its client, Fred Luehrs, for standing up to the Biden Administration’s new ESG rule.
WILL RESPONDS TO PRESIDENT BIDEN’S VETO ON BIPARTISAN ESG BILL
March 20, 2023 | President Joe Biden vetoed the bipartisan resolution from Congress that condemned, and would ultimately block, the use of ESG factors in retirement investing. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) is responding to the President’s decision, and continues its legal efforts against the woke and illegal rule.
The Lawsuit: The lawsuit asks the court to enter a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction halting the ESG Rule. The suit urges the court to enter a declaratory judgment that the ESG Rule exceeds the statutory authority conferred on the Secretary and the Department by Congress, and thus violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
Background: ERISA protects retirement savings from mismanagement and abuse, and imposes fiduciary duties on those who administer the plans. Plan participants are entitled to receive information about their plan, the plan’s performance, and the effect of that performance on the benefits they receive. Congress has provided that a fiduciary shall discharge its duties with respect to an ERISA plan “solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries and defraying reasonable expenses of administering the plan.”
However, under the Biden Administration, the Secretary of Labor promulgated a new rule last December that allows and encourages plan administrators to consider ESG factors when making investments on behalf of plan beneficiaries. Studies have shown that noneconomic factors—like ESG investing—are not as profitable as investing in standardized portfolios, such as investing in an index like the Standard & Poor’s 500 or the Nasdaq. Under the rule, Plan administrators can now risk beneficiaries’ investments for progressive policy dreams.
WILL has recently joined more than 100 organizations and officials in signing a coalition letter to Congress, opposing the 401(k) rule and supporting the congressional effort to overturn it. Now, WILL is pursing legal efforts to stop the politicization of retirement incomes, especially since Congress never granted President Biden the authority to overrule ERISA.
This is WILL’s 7th lawsuit against the Biden Administration.
Congress has also taken action to reverse Biden’s rule. WILL Client, Fred Luehrs, was invited to join Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, on March 9, 2023, for a formal ceremony—celebrating their resolution condemning the ESG Rule. Fred’s story is exactly why Speaker McCarthy and WILL are challenging Biden’s ESG rule.