16 May 2023 Conservative Shareholder Activists Blast JPMorgan Chase for Political and Religious Bias
Washington, D.C. – Shareholder activists with the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) blasted JPMorgan Chase at a press conference this afternoon for its discrimination against customers over political and religious views.
Americans have a God-given right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights that our free speech and religious freedom are protected. All Americans live with the expectation that government and powerful corporations respect those rights.
A proposal seeking review of Chase’s discrimination on religious and political viewpoint grounds, submitted by David Bahnsen, founder of The Bahnsen Group, reached the company’s proxy ballot this year. A proposal specifically about Chase’s discriminatory debanking of conservatives was submitted by FEP, but was blocked by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) unlawful proposal-review process. FEP is suing the SEC in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking the end of that biased and opaque process.
Beyond its politically motivated discrimination against fossil fuel companies and gun manufacturers, Chase appears to be de-banking people and groups based on their political and religious beliefs. That’s illegal. In the past two years, Chase has denied payments or cancelled accounts associated with people and organizations who hold mainstream American values such as former Ambassador Sam Brownback, the Arkansas Family Council, Defense of Liberty and former general Michael Flynn, Jr.
“Chase debanks those who oppose discrimination or disagree with Chase executives’ personal policy preferences, and then lies and lies and stonewalls about the company’s discrimination on the basis of viewpoint,” said FEP Director Scott Shepard at the press conference. “Too big to fail banks must be too big to discriminate. All taxpayers backstop these banks; all taxpayer viewpoints should be treated equally.”
“Given a long history of viewpoint discrimination at Chase, the least it could do is to make honest efforts to review its behaviors and try to reform,” said Shepard. “A first step toward doing that would be to fill out the survey for the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index. For months, Chase has steadfastly ignored repeated calls from its own shareholders and dozens of state officials to participate in the survey portion of the Index. It wasn’t until this weekend that Chase finally admitted to the Wall Street Journal that it has known about the survey all along, and simply chose to ignore it. Chase needs to participate in the survey, then to tout its score the same way it touts other scores, such as that of the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.”
FEP filed a shareholder resolution to address concerns over Chase’s alleged political and religious de-banking. Chase opposed the resolution, but the SEC ruled that Chase need not even present it to the shareholders.
Recently, 19 state attorneys general sent a letter to Chase demanding that the company address the allegations of debanking customers based on their political and religious viewpoints.
No American should have to worry that a financial institution or tech company will deny them service or censor them based on their religious or political beliefs. We are calling on corporations like Chase, PayPal, Microsoft, Alphabet and Meta to treat all customers equally, regardless of religious or political points of view. That’s why it’s important for major tech and financial service providers to both participate in the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index and take steps to address the risks identified in their individual score evaluations.
“Chase admitted it was wrong in its initial refusal to participate in the Viewpoint Diversity Index, and that it’s going to consider the matter again,” added Shepard. “But if that process results in it continuing to tout its perfect score on hard-left indices while still refusing to do the same with the VDI, we’ll know that it has learned nothing and still intends to discriminate. No too-big-to-fail bank can be allowed to do that.”
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. Contributions are tax-deductible and may be earmarked for the Free Enterprise Project. Sign up for email updates at https://nationalcenter.org/subscribe/.
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