28 Apr 2017 Shareholder Activists Blast “Fake Transparency” Proposal for Boeing Investor Consideration
Investor Alert: All Boeing Shareholders Urged to Reject Proposal #5 on Company’s Proxy Statement
Filed by the Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System, Proposal is Part of Left-Wing Assault on Free Speech
Free Enterprise Project, Whose Skepticism of Boeing’s Clinton Foundation Relationship Helped Spur an FBI Investigation, Supports Company’s Free Speech, Association Rights
“We’ve Demanded Transparency from Boeing in the Past, and This is Not Transparency”
Question on Global Security Issue Also Planned
Chicago, IL / Washington, D.C. – The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), the corporate watchdog whose previous demands for transparency from aerospace giant Boeing helped prompt an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundation, will speak out against “fake transparency” requested by a shareholder proposal to be voted on at Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting next week, and is urging all Boeing investors to vote against the proposal.
At Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting, to be held on May 1 at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, investors will vote on a shareholder proposal sponsored by the Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System that calls on the company to disclose all “direct and indirect lobbying activities and expenditures.” The proposal’s proponents call it an effort to increase transparency and accountability. FEP, however, says this proposal isn’t about accountability at all. Instead, it is about limiting free speech — specifically muzzling the National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable, groups Boeing works with to advance shareholder interests.
“Left-wing anti-business activists are using fake transparency claims to stifle free speech. They effectively want to keep Boeing from associating with the groups it lawfully works with to promote its interests in the marketplace. We’ve demanded transparency from Boeing in the past, and this is not transparency. The backers of the proposal want to bludgeon free-market advocates who are advancing Boeing’s interests and giving shareholders a return on their investment,” said National Center Vice President David W. Almasi, who is set to represent the organization at the meeting and has attended previous Boeing shareholder meetings. “If the left was truly concerned about the integrity of Boeing’s affiliations, it would have joined with the Free Enterprise Project when we repeatedly asked Boeing to justify the risk it took donating to the Clinton Foundation around the time then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was advocating for the company with the Russians.”
In 2014 and 2015, the National Center questioned Boeing’s then-CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. about Boeing’s reasons for making donations to the Clinton Foundation. Those donations closely coincided with an effort by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help secure a Boeing contract with the Russian airline Rossiya. The National Center was concerned the donations may have subjected the company to liability for honest services fraud — a form of bribery — and harmed the company’s brand to the detriment of shareholders. Boeing even fought a National Center shareholder proposal asking the company to issue a report on any business rationale for charitable contributions (the proposal was ultimately kept from investors due to a technicality over stock ownership).
The National Center’s efforts received substantial media coverage, including on the Fox News Channel. This coverage, and similar National Center questioning of General Electric’s support of the Clinton Foundation, helped prompt the FBI’s high-profile investigation of the Clinton Foundation.
Next week, in addition to criticizing the “fake transparency” shareholder proposal, and in the same manner as it originally raised the issue of Boeing’s Clinton Foundation ties, FEP also plans to ask a question of current Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg about new Boeing deals that may cause concern about global stability. This question, as prepared for delivery, will be made available here after the meeting starts on May 1.
Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group — focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Since 2014, National Center representatives have participated in nearly 100 shareholder meetings to advance free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. This is the tenth shareholder meeting FEP has attended in 2017.
FEP activism has yielded a tremendous return on investment:
- FEP’s highly-publicized questioning of support for the Clinton Foundation by Boeing and General Electric helped trigger an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundation’s activities that dominated the 2016 presidential campaign.
- FEP inquiries prompted Facebook to address political bias against conservatives in social media.
- Company executives acknowledged media bias at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) in response to FEP’s challenges, which helped to bring about more objective reporting and more balanced political representation.
- FEP’s “Employee Conscience Protection Project” strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations.
So far in 2017, FEP has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, Newsmax TV, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Denver Post, Drudge Report, Business Insider, Orlando Sentinel, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and SiriusXM. In 2016, FEP was also featured in the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune among many others. The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.