20 Apr 2021 Bank of America, Coca-Cola Backpedal From Georgia Election Law Criticism
Washington, D.C. – Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan today backed away from claims that Georgia’s new voter-integrity law is racist after being confronted by the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP). Two hours earlier, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey dodged FEP’s question but still retreated toward neutrality on the issue.
At Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting, FEP Deputy Director Scott Shepard submitted this question:
CEO Brian Moynihan has said that the Georgia voter-integrity legislation increases racial inequality, and must be opposed in order to “stand united in our advocacy for equal voting rights for all.” Can you explain specifically how requiring voters to show ID in order to avoid fraud is racist, and also Bank of America’s timeline for ending all requests for ID from job candidates, employees, visitors to your facilities, borrowers, lenders, and attendees at your annual shareholder meetings, in conformance with your race-based claims?
I don’t think any statement was made by the company. The statements made by the company would [make] clear that the right to vote is core to America, and that we want to make sure it’s preserved and extended to the fullest extent possible.
One of the things is there’s lots of provisions in these laws, and that’s why last week, after looking at some of the discussion, …I got to the conclusion that maybe we need a bipartisan commission. In the elections of 2000 and 2004, President George W. Bush appointed former President Carter and Secretary James Baker to form a commission to look at voting rules and they made a series of recommendations that were delivered in 2005 and they were implemented I think. Similarly, we need to get a set of voting rules that people believe elections are fair here in the country on all sides and address these issues and I think it’d be good to get a bipartisan commission to do it, but we are for the right to vote is paramount to being an American.
Shepard’s question and Moynihan’s response can be heard here.
“Brian Moynihan had disgraced himself and Bank of America with his claims – which he appeared to deny having made during today’s meeting – that voter-integrity laws and the need to show ID and otherwise protect against fraud are somehow racist,” responded Shepard. “We were delighted today to see him back away from those claims. The bedrock of our democracy is belief in the honesty and fairness of our elections. If that goes, our shared, peaceful national life will not be far behind.
“Moynihan seems to have recognized this, after intense pressure and activism by the sensible center of our country,” Shepard continued. “His call for a bipartisan commission appointed to study election laws in order to ensure honest elections without fraud is commendable, if he means to throw his weight – so recently deployed against fair elections – behind the seating of a commission that is not only nominally bipartisan but genuinely committed to ensuring clean elections rather than using spurious race-based claims and a rigged composition to ignore the majority of the country and serve as a rubber stamp for more fraud.”
During the Coca-Cola virtual annual shareholder meeting, Shepard asked CEO Quincey:
You have said that the Georgia voter-integrity legislation “is unacceptable, it is a step backward and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia,” including “ensuring election integrity.” Could you explain in detail how requiring voters to show ID when they vote detracts from voter integrity, and what other specific provisions of the bill detract from election integrity? Also, could you tell us when Coca-Cola will announce its policy of no longer asking for ID from job applicants, employees, guests to its facilities, and shareholder-meeting attendees?
While taking many softball questions, Quincey ignored Shepard’s. Quincey instead responded to a non-specific question about the company’s stance on the voting law with an empty, pre-scripted answer that, while less strident than his previous comments on the topic, conveyed no meaningful information. Quincey did not reverse his position that identification is vital for Coca-Cola’s business purposes but unacceptable for voting.
“Quincey owed it to shareholders and to the country, after having made such sweeping claims about Georgia’s voter integrity efforts, to be honest and clear in response to a real shareholder question,” responded Shepard. “Coca Cola will continue to require IDs from investors to vote their proxies or attend annual shareholder meetings, from visitors to their facilities, from employees and from other stakeholders.
“Of course it is not racist to ask for ID, and the Georgia voter-integrity law in no way enacts any racist or otherwise discriminatory provisions,” Shepard continued. “But having made these claims, Quincey should either have defended or retreated from them honestly and clearly.
“Similarly, if Coca-Cola really wanted to combat racism, it would first shut down any employee training that tries to indoctrinate employees with the deeply racist and conflict-engendering tenets of so-called ‘antiracism’ and of critical theory generally. It was nice of Quincey to admit that ‘try to be less white’ was a mistake, but fixing the mistake requires more than just tweaking some slides. It requires providing clear and actionable viewpoint-nondiscrimination protections for employees.”
FEP Associate Davis Soderberg also attended the meetings.
“The hypocrisy being demonstrated by Coca-Cola can’t be overstated,” Soderberg said. “In denouncing the election integrity bill passed by the Georgia legislature, Coca-Cola asserted that showing an ID is ‘a step backward,’ but it’s the same prerequisite Coke uses for entry into the shareholder meeting, for hiring employees, and for entering its corporate facilities. Quincey is fully aware of the hypocrisy, but rather than grappling with it honestly, he ignored our question that called Coca-Cola out on the matter.
“It’s no secret, meanwhile, that Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan believes that his executive position should entitle him to be an unelected dictator to the American people, deciding what they can produce, what they have to believe in order to qualify for loans and so forth,” Soderberg continued. “His recent attack on Georgia’s election-integrity bill is just another display of this. Backing away some today is fine, but it’s only a start. Big business is being ruined by politicization. It’s time for shareholders to stand up and demand these corporate overlords govern their companies as political neutral entities.”
Shepard agreed that Moynihan’s politics is threatening to poison corporate America.
“Sadly, in too many areas, including his proposed ‘sustainability metrics’ for corporations and his embrace of ‘stakeholder capitalism,’ Moynihan asserts his personal policy preferences under a guise of neutrality and objectivity,” Shepard noted. “We must all keep the pressure on Moynihan and Bank of America to abandon duplicity and truly embrace objectivity and neutrality, instead of constantly faking it.
“All of these companies’ assertions, evasions, telling silences and muddled retreats make it clear that their woke CEOs are stirring up hatred between Americans as an ugly excuse for opposing free and fair elections,” concluded Shepard. “Which raises this question: Why are they working so hard to allow and propagate election fraud?”
Conservative investors can learn how to oppose the leftist agenda to takeover corporate America by downloading FEP’s new 2021 Investor Value Voter Guide.
Today’s meetings mark the 6th and 7th shareholder meetings that FEP has participated in in 2021. To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.
Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.
FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work is prominently featured in Stephen Soukup’s new book The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business (Encounter Books) and 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 60,000 active recent contributors.
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