Bank of America, Citigroup Slammed for Discriminatory Policies

Shareholder Proposals Criticize Diversity Policies That Favor Certain Groups

Washington, D.C. – Today the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) presented proposals at both the Bank of America and Citigroup annual shareholder meetings, each criticizing “equity” policies that give preference to members of certain racial, ethnic and sexual identity groups over others.

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard

“Diversity – including diversity of viewpoint and background – is great. Active discrimination on the basis of race, sex and orientation is illegal and wrong, whomever it’s aimed at,” said FEP Director Scott Shepard. “Everyone not only has civil rights, but has the same civil rights as everyone else.”

At today’s Bank of America (BoA) meeting, Shepard put forward Proposal 5 to request what he called “a report that focuses on whether, in its myriad diversity, inclusion and equity efforts, the company is discriminating against employees that it has not honored with the label ‘diverse.’” He criticized BoA’s embrace of “racial equity,” which he said “means current discrimination now to make up for other discrimination against other people by other people in the past.”

Shepard also called out BoA CEO Brian Moynihan specifically for promoting these policies:

[I]t is appalling for racial spoils to be embraced by a too-big-to-fail bank, which is ultimately backstopped by all American taxpayers, not just “diverse” ones. And it is ludicrous that a billionaire CEO – white, male and straight – connives in this endorsement while keeping all his riches and power. Because the inevitable consequences of that combination are – it’s just math – that he is happily consigning millions of poor white people to penury and powerlessness so the spoils can be redistributed while he keeps such an immense portion of the white share.

Shepard’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be read here. The audio of his presentation can be heard here. Proposal 5, and BoA’s response to it, can be found on page 87-93 of the company’s proxy statement.

Sarah Rehberg

Sarah Rehberg

At Citigroup’s annual shareholder meeting, FEP Program Coordinator Sarah Rehberg presented Proposal 9, which likewise requested an audit of the company’s so-called nondiscrimination policies. These policies, especially in the company’s evaluation of managers and its lending policies, “inevitably promote discriminatory behavior in the name of ‘anti-racism,’” she said.

Rehberg said that by focusing on race and sex in its hiring and assessment of managers,

…the company places more value on whether an employee is a woman or a “traditionally underrepresented minority” than whether that individual has an objective amount of experience or educational qualifications. And it necessarily discriminates against groups that Citigroup doesn’t recognize as “traditionally underrepresented,” who are held to higher standards on the basis of race and sex.

This dangerous type of mentality is grounded in principles such as Critical Race Theory, which reduces human existence to surface elements that no one can control – like skin tone or sex.

Rehberg’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be read here. The audio of her presentation can be heard here. Proposal 9, and Citigroup’s response to it, can be found on pages 126-128 of the Citigroup proxy statement.

FEP also posed a question to Coca-Cola this morning about the company’s sponsorship of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), but the company refused to answer the question.

Investors wishing to oppose race-based discrimination and other “woke” policies infiltrating Corporate America should download FEP’s 2022 editions of the “Investor Value Voter Guide” and the “Balancing the Boardroom” guide. Other action items for investors and non-investors alike can be found on FEP’s website.

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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The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.