By John Hugh DeMastri
Daily Caller News Foundation
- High-ranking Treasury Department officials met with and received emails on their personal accounts from members of a climate finance organization chaired by Democratic donor Michael Bloomberg, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) makes “disclosure recommendations” about how companies report the impact of climate change on their finances for the sake of “market transparency,” according to its website.
- The documents “revealed regular and influential lobbying of senior Treasury officials, including Secretary Janet Yellen, by parties hired by and otherwise associated with climate activist Michael Bloomberg to push that agenda,” Rob Schilling, the group’s executive director, told the DCNF.
High-ranking Treasury Department officials met with and received emails on their personal accounts from members of a climate finance organization chaired by Democratic donor Michael Bloomberg, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Bloomberg — former mayor of New York, founder of financial data giant Bloomberg LP and major Democratic donor — is the current chair of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), an organization which lobbies for companies to disclose “risks related to climate change” in their financial statements. Representatives of this organization, many of whom are current or former Bloomberg LP employees, communicated with high-level members of the Treasury Department, including Secretary Janet Yellen’s Chief of Staff, Didem Nisanci, and the department’s former Climate Counselor, John Morton, at times contacting them using their personal Gmail accounts, according to a review of documents via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the non-profit Energy Policy Advocates (EPA).
The documents “revealed regular and influential lobbying of senior Treasury officials, including Secretary Janet Yellen, by parties hired by and otherwise associated with climate activist Michael Bloomberg to push that agenda,” Rob Schilling, EPA’s executive director, told the DCNF. “The public has a right to know how these institutions are being used, with whom, and to what extent this coordination with deeply invested interests is occurring off-the-books.”
EPA’s Schilling singled out TCFD Secretariat Mary Schapiro, who he said “certainly knows better, having undergone ethics, records management and FOIA training herself” in her previous role as U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair
Schapiro, for example, was one of two members of the organization specifically lauded by a member of the U.K. Treasury for helping convince the Biden administration to tweak language in the White House’s 2021 International Climate Finance Plan, according to an April 2021 email. The administration apparently tweaked the statement to oblige the U.S. to work with various international multilateral organizations — including the TCFD’s parent organization, the Financial Stability Board — to establish international standards for climate-related financial disclosures. The other, TCFD Secretariat Curtis Ravenel, passed on the U.K. Treasury’s email to Nisanci, noting they were “grateful.”
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Schapiro, Nisanci and Ravenel have all held high-level positions at Bloomberg LP — with Schapiro specifically serving as a special advisor to Michael Bloomberg himself. All three have also served as secretariats for the TCFD. Nisanci also served as Schapiro’s chief of staff when she was SEC chair under President Barack Obama.
Nisanci, Ravenel, Schapiro and Morton all attended a March 2021 “White House Weekend Senior Staff” meeting, organized by Yellen, according to the documents. Schapiro also emailed Nisanci’s personal Gmail account in May 2021, outing an “excellent speech” by then-SEC Commissioner Allison Lee regarding “myths and misunderstandings” that surrounded the debate over climate-related financial disclosures.
Morton received a similar email on his personal Gmail account in September 2021 from Ravenel regarding a speech by former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who chaired the FSB when the TCFD was established in 2015, about net zero investing, according to the documents. The message was forwarded to Nisanci, who forwarded the email to another Treasury employee and requested they “please print” the slides from Carney’s speech.
In March 2022, the SEC proposed rules that would require companies publish data about the climate risks related to their business, but significant corporate blowback is reportedly leading the agency to reduce the scope of the finalized regulations. Michael Bloomberg applauded the proposed rules in 2022, which he described as adopting the TCFD’s framework, according to a statement from the organization.
EPA filed an additional FOIA request in November 2022 for official emails sent to the personal Gmail accounts of Yellen, Morton and Nisanci.
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— John E. Morton (@johnemorton) January 18, 2023
Morton left the Biden administration in January, returning to work for the Pollination Group, which markets itself as a “specialist climate change investment and advisory firm,” according to a company press release.
Nisanci, Morton, Ravenel and Schapiro did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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