27 Apr 2015 Conservatives 3 – Liberals 0; Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Honeywell Investors Overwhelmingly Reject Left’s Call That They Stop Working with Conservative Organizations and Public Officials
Liberal Attacks on American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Losing Steam
Washington, D.C. – Three times in three business days, investors at three major corporations soundly voted to reject calls from the left that they stop working with conservative or free-market organizations or public officials.
The rejections came after the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative and free-market think-tank, spoke to investors at each company’s shareholder meeting and issued informational materials for shareholder use.
The rejections of the left came from investors at Honeywell, meeting today; Johnson & Johnson, meeting last Thursday (4/23); and Pfizer, also meeting last Thursday.
Johnson & Johnson investors rejected the left 95% to 5%. Pfizer investors rejected the left 94.7% to 5.7%. Honeywell reports that investors rejected the left’s proposal, but the specific vote totals will be reported in an upcoming SEC filing.
The rejections may mark an end to the left’s success in bullying investors and corporations into refusing to work with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a 40-year-old membership association of conservative and free-market state legislators. This has been a goal of the left since 2012, when it began a campaign to vilify ALEC that often misleads the public about ALEC’s goals and activities. The left’s proposals at Pfizer and Honeywell specifically targeted ALEC.
The left’s overwhelming failures at these three corporations may also mark an increasing recognition by investors and corporate officials that the goal of the left in making these proposals is to stop corporations from working with and/or supporting all conservative and free-market organizations and public officials – in essence, removing everyone who is right of center from a seat at the table.
Last Tuesday, the National Center for Public Policy Research issued a press release calling for investors of Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer to reject measures from left-wing organizations that targeted free-market organizations and beliefs. The investors of each company subsequently rejected those measures.
At today’s Honeywell meeting, the company’s investors rejected a proposal submitted by the City of Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund that masqueraded as a good governance proposal but was really an attack on the company’s involvement with ALEC.
At the meeting, National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. exposed the proponents’ true intentions and stated:
The primary target of the proposal is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a venerable group of state legislators and business leaders that have worked for more than four decades to foster a pro-business environment that has allowed companies such as Honeywell to thrive.
For daring to try to reduce the regulatory burdens on business and improve the American economic landscape, the left vilifies ALEC. And since ALEC is effective, liberals such as the proponents are working to silence ALEC by using corporate America as a pawn.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund’s proposal has failed.
At last Thursday’s annual meeting of Pfizer shareholders, National Center Chairman Amy Ridenour spoke out against a proposal attacking ALEC submitted by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, a long-time advocate of normalized relations with Cuba. Investors rejected the proposal 94.3% against, 5.7% for.
At the meeting, Ridenour spoke against the proposal, stating:
A corporation that yields to activist demands that it stop funding or working with any group — whether on the right or the left — makes itself a target of future campaigns, potentially damaging its brand as well as its ability to advance public policies that advance its interest, because it has shown it is vulnerable to such campaigns.
Also last Thursday, at the annual meeting of Johnson & Johnson shareholders, the company’s shareholders rejected a proposal submitted by NorthStar Asset Management that complained about the company’s donations to free-market causes and politicians. At the meeting, Danhof noted that Johnson & Johnson’s 2012 decision to end its relationship with ALEC opened the door for liberals such as NorthStar Asset Management to demand more:
…when liberal agitators falsely accused ALEC of being a racist organization for supporting voter ID laws (which by the way are favored by a majority of black Americans and Democrats), Johnson & Johnson was among the many companies to distance itself from ALEC despite the fact that ALEC works to create a strong business environment for the company and the left-wing race hustlers who opposed them could care less if Johnson & Johnson succeeds or fails. By giving that inch, the company opened itself up to these continued attacks.
I applaud the company’s investors for rejecting this latest attack and I hope that the company’s management truly takes to heart which organizations are working toward market-based solutions that help Johnson & Johnson and the American people, and those organizations such as NorthStar Asset Management that couldn’t care less.
Johnson & Johnson shareholders rejected NorthStar Asset Management’s proposal 95% – 5%.
The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on corporations. From 2014-present, the National Center has participated in 64 shareholder meetings.
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 free issue alerts here.