25 Apr 2012 Coca-Cola Doubles-Down on Becoming Target of Special Interests, Endures Bitter Taste of Its Folly
Shareholder Meeting Query About Where Coke Will Draw the Line Rebuffed
Coke Executive Refuses to Believe Soda Giant Capitulated
Atlanta, GA / Washington, D.C. – At today’s Coca-Cola Company shareholder meeting in Atlanta, Coca-Cola stood by its recent decision to drop its support of the American Legislative Exchange Council under pressure from a left-wing special interest group.
As predicted by the National Center for Public Policy Research, the shareholder meeting was a carnival of leftist special interests making demands of Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent.
In a question submitted to Kent that was not addressed during the shareholder meeting, National Center Executive Director David W. Almasi warned the leadership of the beverage giant that not standing by its professional associations would put the company and its shareholders at a business disadvantage, but this plea seemed to fall on deaf ears when one high-ranking executive was approached by Almasi after the meeting.
“In the past, the Coca-Cola Company beat back rumors such as the one that Mikey from the Life cereal commercial died from a mixture of Coke and Pop Rocks to the legend that a tooth in a glass of Coke will dissolve overnight. But when left-wing radicals began selling the tall tale that Coca-Cola wants to take peoples’ votes away, it would appear they took a dive. And today I think they doubled-down on this mistake,” said the National Center’s Almasi, a Coca-Cola shareholder. “Coca-Cola terminated a relationship with a think-tank they worked with on tax policy because of false racism allegations about the think-tank’s work to combat vote fraud. By refusing to acknowledge this mistake today, their weakness opens up the company and its shareholders to a Pandora’s Box of demands from political special interests. And we all got a taste of it today at the shareholder meeting.”
Coca-Cola severed ties with ALEC earlier this month at the demand of the radical racial pressure group Color of Change. Confronted at today’s shareholder meeting, Steve Cahillane, the president and CEO of Coca-Cola Refreshments and the former head of North American operations, told Almasi he did not believe that Coke “capitulated” to radical demands and that the questioners at the meeting did not fully represent Coke shareholders or consumers.
At the meeting, despite a high number of company employees in the audience cheering on the Coca-Cola board and executives and asking some of the questions, Kent found himself facing questions critical of the company’s bottled water sales, corn syrup and other chemicals in its drinks, allegations of domestic racial discrimination and criminal activity abroad, lowering the carbon footprint of its vending machines and coordinated shout-downs from protesters placed throughout the audience by the radical activists.
“While it was outrageous that Mr. Kent thought he could address all shareholder concerns with less than an hour of question and answers – and pointedly leaving out my question, I might add – six of the eight questions not posed by employees of the company were attacks on Coke,” added Almasi. “Coke dropped ALEC because of leftist complaints about its work on ballot integrity when Coke’s real work with ALEC centered on tax policy. Who gets hurt here? The company, its shareholders and its consumers. Every demand made at today’s shareholder meeting would similarly put the company at risk. It’s a peril they bring on themselves when they refuse to stand up to left-wing bullies, and they must be prepared to publicly draw a line before they lose the profitability Mr. Kent was so proud to share with us today.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research recently announced the creation of the “Voter Identification Task Force” to promote measures to enhance integrity in voting as a means of continuing the work of the American Legislation Exchange Council in this area.
A recent poll conducted jointly by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw and Company Research found that 70 percent of those surveyed — including Republican and Democrat majorities — support voter identification laws. Additionally, 50 percent of those surveyed thought that opponents of such laws may want to allow vote fraud to occur.
Coca-Cola’s shareholder meeting was held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia on April 25 between 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM eastern. Both David Almasi and the National Center for Public Policy Research are Coca-Cola shareholders.
The National Center For Public Policy Research is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving approximately one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible.