On Thursday, Rep. Joel John was accused of “throwing his cousin under the bus” in his justification for voting against a bill that would have prevented banks from discriminating against certain vendors or customers.
Rep. Jake Hoffman’s bill, HB2656, would prohibit banks from discriminating against people based on certain affiliations or values.
“I’ve asked the sponsor to give me real world examples of why this bill is needed, and I didn’t get that. I even got a call from my cousin, who doesn’t live in my district, telling me that this bill is needed and to pass it right now and I said ‘why is it a problem man? Help me understand.’ For those of us who happen to be in this chamber, but don’t live, eat, and breathe politics 24/7, when I’m not in this chamber I’m out in a remote area working on some irrigation project, but my cousin said this is going to negatively affect farmers. This is going to affect our community, and I said ‘oh wow. Would you please do me a favor and talk to some of those guys as to why this is a problem. That would really help me. So, I never did hear back.”
In explaining his Yes vote, Rep. Jeff Weninger said that, unlike Rep. John, he would not “throw his cousin under the bus.” Weninger said that he had heard from several vendors who had concerns about discriminatory banking practices.
Hoffman crafted the bill in response to the expanded use of “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) criteria, through which corporations and progressives screen customers and companies much like China’s social credit system. Under that system behavior that benefits the Chinese Communist Party is rewarded and behavior that does not serve the Party is punished.
“Prohibiting ESG discrimination by banks and financing institutions isn’t merely good policy or the right thing to do; it is a moral imperative,” Hoffman told the Arizona Daily Independent. “As Americans are witnessing in Canada, woke financial institutions are all too eager to act as the enforcers for tyrannical ruling class ideology. Step out of line, they’ll freeze your assets. Support freedom and your fellow countrymen’s right to peacefully protest, they’ll strip you of your ability to put food on the table or heat your home.”
“Think it couldn’t happen in America? Think again. The top five banks in the US—the very same banks that US taxpayers bailed out in 2009 to the tune of 30 trillion dollars—have all admitted to using ESG scores to make decisions about customers,” explained Hoffman. “This means that if they deem your small business isn’t green enough, woke enough, or compliant enough, they’ll lower your ESG score which could hurt or eliminate your ability to access banking services, revolving capital, financing, and much more.”
“ESG discrimination is a freight train barreling down the tracks at the American people and it’s effects will be devastating, which is why I’m fighting like hell to protect the people of Arizona and stop this disgusting, anti-American practice dead in its tracks,” concluded Hoffman.
Republican Rep. Michelle Udall joined Rep. John and all of the House Democrats in killing the bill, thus preserving the ability of banks to discriminate on the basis of political affiliations or beliefs.