New Analysis Reveals How SEC Staff Ignores Requests that Would Ensure Protection of Political Minorities

A new analysis by the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) suggests a trend of increasing discrimination against right-of-center shareholder initiatives at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to a National Policy Analysis (NPA) white paper, written by FEP Coordinator Scott Shepard, SEC staff have increasingly – and inappropriately – picked sides in determining which shareholder proposals are allowed to be placed before corporate shareholders and which proposals it will allow companies to exclude.

For example, the SEC staff has permitted proposals to proceed to shareholders if the proposals sought to forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – even when no concerns were raised that such discrimination might be occurring at the company targeted by the proposal. At the same time, the staff has allowed exclusion of proposals that sought to forbid discrimination on the basis of viewpoint despite significant evidence that such discrimination is both occurring and is perceived to be occurring.

New interpretive rules, Shepard argued, also make the SEC staff’s decision-making process much less transparent for no beneficial purpose – noting that the staff is wielding rule waivers, time limits and other technicalities in ways that benefit the companies that are fighting to maintain viewpoint discrimination.

“Workplace discrimination is always wrong,” said Shepard. “It’s wrong when it’s done on the basis of sex and race, and it’s wrong when it’s done on the basis of viewpoint and political affiliation. We as a country decided in the 1950s to leave viewpoint discrimination behind, even to the extent of protecting Communists in the workplace at the height of the Cold War. For such discrimination to be raising its ugly head again – this time against those of us on the right – is astonishing. For the SEC staff to be assisting that discrimination is insupportable. It must be stopped.”

If the SEC staff continues in this direction, the NPA argues:

[E]executive or congressional oversight operations will become necessary. The SEC cannot be permitted to allow a reasonable inference to arise that its staff’s personal policy preferences dictate relations between shareholders and corporate boards, and thus the fate of markets, investors and employees nationwide.

In a recent Federalist op-ed, FEP Director Justin Danhof reinforced these points:

Rather than making decisions based on objective criteria, the SEC is now deciding the fate of shareholder resolutions based on subjective and decidedly left-leaning biases. In rejecting our resolution, the SEC made a mockery of the shareholder proposal process. It’s time for Congress to take notice of the role the SEC plays in shaping corporate proxy ballots — and how that process is empowering corporate America’s march to the left.

“The SEC staff has been biased against conservative proposals for more than a decade now,” noted Danhof. “On issues such as corporate charitable giving, state-level religious freedom laws, health care, workplace discrimination and more, the SEC routinely allows liberal proposals on these topics while blocking ours. The SEC’s commissioners are derelict in their duties if they allow such chicanery to continue.”

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.

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. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.

••••

The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)

••••

Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.

••••

Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

••••

Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*