The two-fаced campaign
Introduce Vivek Ramaswamy and his campaign message urging companies to stay out of politics.
However, private emails obtained by watchdog Documented and reviewed by CNBC reveal that Strive Asset Management, the asset management firm co-founded by Ramaswamy, has engaged more with Republican Party officials than was previously known. The emails show Strive's active engagement with GOP state leaders who have defended the fossil fuel industry and criticized environmentally conscious investment standards.
Ramaswamy has defended the firm's engagement with GOP officials, saying that larger firms like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street have conducted similar practices with state officials across the country.
Since he began his campaign, Ramaswamy has deferred questions about Strive's business strategy to the firm. Strive has become one of the more vocal opponents of ESG investing and has gained enough notoriety to challenge the likes of fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil. Ramaswamy's firm has focused its investment strategy on fossil fuels, launching an ETF called Strive U.S. Energy, which is listed on the NYSE and has net assets of over $300 million.
Ramaswamy has cast himself as a leading culture warrior against major corporations and extended his fight to the campaign trail. He co-founded the anti-ESG firm in 2022, a year after he published a book called "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam," which takes on the concept of stakeholder capitalism. However, his firm's behind-the-scenes political engagement may undermine his anti-politics-in-business message.