Ramaswamy’s investments seem at odds with his stance on ‘woke’ culture

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the GOP State Convention in Columbus, Georgia on June 8, 2023. (Jon Cherry/The New York Times)

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the GOP State Convention in Columbus, Georgia on June 8, 2023. (Jon Cherry/The New York Times)

Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate who made his fortune in the biotechnology industry, caught the attention of primary voters with fiery criticism of the socially responsible practices of American companies, which he exposed in a book, “Woke , Inc.: Inside America’s corporate social justice scam.

But Ramaswamy has valuable investments in many companies that have embraced environmental, social and governance principles, known as ESG – the kinds of “woke” corporate practices he denounces – according to a financial statement filed. with the Federal Election Commission which was released on Friday.

While many of the companies in which Ramaswamy has a stake are household names, they are also leaders in the corporate movement to address social and environmental issues.

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Companies Ramaswamy invests in include Microsoft (his holdings are valued at $1-5 million), Home Depot ($250,000-500,000), Lockheed Martin ($500,000-1 million), and Waste Management ($500,000). 000 to 1 million dollars). All adhere to various ESG principles, according to reports posted on their websites.

Ramaswamy argued that such goals are a distraction from making a profit and that social goals should be left to elected officials.

Tricia McLaughlin, senior adviser to Ramaswamy, said he does not manage his own stock portfolio. “The first time Vivek became aware of these posts was when he saw this financial disclosure report,” McLaughlin said Friday. “Vivek’s equity portfolio is managed independently by a third party. The registrant has the power to transact and invest in shares without his express consent or knowledge. »

Ramaswamy, a longtime candidate who has said he would go further than Republican frontrunner former President Donald Trump on conservative issues, has been exceptionally transparent about his wealth, earlier releasing 20 years of his statements of income.

But until he filed his financial return with election officials, there were few details. The filing reported that Ramaswamy had up to $25 million in investment in Rumble, a video platform that markets itself as a haven for right-wing commentators shunned elsewhere. He has up to $300,000 in cryptocurrency, mostly bitcoin, and an investment worth up to $100,000 in a cryptocurrency app named MoonPay. He also has interests in three private planes.

Ramaswamy, 37, is from Cincinnati and graduated from Harvard and Yale. He founded Roivant Sciences in 2014, a company that develops and markets drugs, and which is the main source of his wealth. Although he stepped down as chairman in February when he announced his candidacy, earlier reports showed he remained a major shareholder. On the federal disclosure, the value of his Roivant holdings is listed as “over $50 million,” which is the largest category used on the form.

According to McLaughlin, Ramaswamy’s total value is over $1 billion.

Besides Roivant, Ramaswamy’s portfolio has diversified into investments in large US companies that many Americans would recognize from their own retirement accounts. These holdings are valued between $39.6 million and $125 million. (Amounts on the form are listed within a range.) In addition, he declared more than $50 million in holdings in Strive Enterprises, an investment company he started to manage funds that invest in businesses. regardless of social goals.

Sales of Ramaswamy’s book “Woke, Inc.”, which sets out its case against companies that attempt to accommodate social goals, earned its author $203,860 in royalties.

The report suggests one area where Ramaswamy is more modest than other members of his ultra-wealthy cohort: He owns just one residence, in Columbus, Ohio. Its value was set between $1 million and $5 million.

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