Attorney General Drummond fires state treasurer's counsel over anti-ESG law failure

Friday, 10 May 2024 07:30

Attorney General Drummond fires state treasurer's counsel over anti-ESG law failure Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY (May 9, 2024) – Expressing extreme disappointment with state Treasurer Todd Russ and the treasurer’s hand-picked legal counsel, Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced today he is firing the outside attorney and removing Russ from any decision-making authority in the lawsuit defending Oklahoma’s anti-ESG (environmental, social and governance) law.

Drummond’s actions come on the heels of an Oklahoma County District Court ruling earlier this week enjoining the Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Act of 2022 from enforcement. Russ is being sued by a retired state employee who claims the treasurer’s enforcement of the law jeopardized the retiree’s pension.

The law prohibits state contracts and pension system investments with financial institutions that discriminate against the oil and gas industry.

“It is extremely disappointing that the counsel hired by Treasurer Russ was unable to secure a favorable ruling in defense of Oklahoma’s anti-ESG law,” Drummond said. “Because of this failure, the law is now on hold and at risk of being struck down entirely. Oklahomans deserve better.”

Drummond said he had initially chosen a separate firm to serve as outside counsel on the matter but deferred to Russ after the treasurer insisted on selecting his own attorney to defend the law. The Attorney General said he now regrets extending that professional courtesy.

“Treasurer Russ was insistent that he be allowed to choose his own counsel to defend the lawsuit, and I acquiesced,” said Drummond. “No longer will I allow professional courtesy to influence my decisions on this matter. Effective immediately, I have terminated Treasurer Russ’s hand-picked counsel and removed the treasurer from any decision-making role in the lawsuit. My office will handle all elements of the case moving forward.”

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