Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s self-declared “war on wokeness” is now setting its sights on credit cards, PayPal, and similar payment services.
His announced proposals against the “woke ideology” of such financial institutions would include a combination of legislative and executive initiatives which are intended to ban credit card companies and money transfer services from “discriminating” against users based on political or religious ideology.
Banks, credit cards, and money transfer services “should not be colluding with one another to marginalize people that they have political disagreements with,” DeSantis said, addressing an audience at an event at Harpoon Harry’s Crab House in downtown Tampa. “That is not the way you can run an economy effectively.”
DeSantis singled out PayPal as a company his proposed measures would affect.
PayPal has previously cut off accounts and fundraising platforms affiliated with far-right groups such as the Proud Boys, but also anti-fascism or “ANTIFA” groups, for violating its policy on promoting violence or intolerance.
The governor and possible candidate for president in 2024 also specifically referenced crowdfunding website GoFundMe’s decision to block donations to a convoy of Canadian truck drivers that shut down Ottawa in January and February to protest vaccine mandates. Earlier this year, DeSantis said he would work with the state attorney general to investigate the company.
Details of the proposals remain unclear. But they also would prevent the State Board of Administration, which manages Florida’s retirement funds, from considering companies’ “environmental” or “social impact” before investing — an approach known as ESG, short for environmental, social, and governance investing.
DeSantis said his proposal would require the state retirement fund managers to make investment decisions based solely on return on investment and ignore such things as ESG.
Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, the incoming speaker of the Florida House, said at the event he looked forward to working with the governor to advance the proposals.
Renner has previously said he wants to focus on curbing ESG investing in the state’s financial industry.
Speaking alongside DeSantis in the Tampa restaurant, he described it as the “woke elite weaponizing American capitalism against us.”
“This is a pocketbook issue, and we will not relent until we start dismantling this dangerous form of ESG,” Renner said.