Wednesday, April 14, 2021


Wow! Amazing!
Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote.

... the new statement, which was also signed by General Motors, Netflix and Starbucks, represented the broadest coalition yet to weigh in on the issue.

“It should be clear that there is overwhelming support in corporate America for the principle of voting rights,” [former American Express CEO Kenneth] Chenault said.
The statement does not address specific election legislation in states, among them Texas, Arizona and Michigan, and Mr. Chenault said there was no expectation for companies to oppose individual bills.

“We are not being prescriptive,” he said. “There is no one answer.”
Coca-Cola and Delta, which condemned the Georgia law after it was passed, declined to add their names, according to people familiar with the matter. Home Depot also declined, even though its co-founder Arthur Blank said in a call with other business executives on Saturday that he supported voting rights. Another Home Depot co-founder, Ken Langone, is a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump.
JPMorgan Chase also declined to sign the statement despite a personal request from senior Black business leaders to the chief executive, Jamie Dimon, according to people briefed on the matter.
I'm with Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times -- I don't believe this represents a commitment to voting rights that will be sustained. Hiltzik notes how quickly corporate pledges to withhold money from supporters of Trump's attempted election theft are breaking down:
JetBlue, which said in January that it would “temporarily pause all contributions as we review the political landscape,” was the first company to donate directly to an election objector. The airline made a $1,000 contribution to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), according to a company campaign finance filing on April 5 first reported by Bloomberg....

Other companies have circumvented their own doubts about contributing to election objectors by donating to political committees. That’s how AT&T rationalized its $5,000 donation to the House Conservatives Fund, which is chaired by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), another election objector. Every single one of the fund’s 10 “priority members” also voted against certifying the vote.
And so on. Hiltzik also notes that previous pledges of corporate virtue were mostly talk:
The fate of the 2019 pledge by 187 big-business CEOs to serve all corporate stakeholders — employees, suppliers, customers and communities — not just shareholders provides another data point to help analyze the value of high-profile corporate promises. The pledge was viewed as a possible sea change in how companies were managed. A “watershed,” even.

One year later, however, the promise was revealed as empty. As we reported, a few companies raised their minimum wages, but typically either in compliance with or anticipation of government mandates to do so. Some consumer companies offered frontline workers “hero” bonuses for their work during the pandemic, but withdrew them even before the pandemic ebbed.

The first CEO to abandon his pledge to dump the shareholder-value model was Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. After Bezos signed the pledge, his company cut health benefits for part-time employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon had acquired.

Business groups, including the Business Roundtable, which sponsored the 2019 pledge, continued to lobby to roll back environmental laws and make it harder for ordinary people to have a voice in corporate decision-making. Why, just a day or two after the big Zoom meeting of CEOs, the Business Roundtable unveiled its new ad campaign: Opposing the corporate tax increase being considered by the Biden administration.
The corporations are generating publicity that might last through this weekiend, when the Sunday talk shows sum up the events of the week. But after that, we'll never hear about it again, and the same companies and individuals will be donating to vote suppressors by midsummer.

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