News

Corporate Leaders Plot To Oppose Changes In Voting Laws, Mock Mitch McConnell On Weekend Mega-Call

   DailyWire.com
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 03: Demonstrators stand outside of the Georgia Capitol building, to oppose the HB 531 bill on March 3, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. HB 531 will add controversial voting restrictions to the state's upcoming elections including restricting ballot drop boxes, requiring an ID requirement for absentee voting and limiting weekend early voting days. The Georgia House passed the bill and will send it to the Senate. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)
Megan Varner/Getty Images

More than 100 corporate leaders met on a mega-conference call Saturday in order to coordinate opposition to changes in state voting laws like the ones made in Georgia, according to The Washington Post, and mocked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who warned a number of corporations, last week, to stay out of politics.

The group, organized in part by Yale management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and the “Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism,” the “Chief Executive Leadership Institute,” and the “Leadership Now Project,” according to a press release about the call, convened to “discuss critical information regarding voting law proposals and to explore non-partisan actions business leaders could take to defend voting rights and our democracy.”

The Post reported that “[e]xecutives from major airlines, retailers, and manufacturers — plus at least one NFL owner — talked about potential ways to show they opposed the legislation, including by halting donations to politicians who support the bills and even delaying investments in states that pass the restrictive measures.”

The call was reportedly convened in response to the Georgia legislature’s decision to pass new election regulations, changing some restrictions on absentee and in-person voting, requiring voter ID, and preventing some forms of electioneering.

While Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game as a way of sending a message to Georgia legislators — and around 200 other corporate leaders issued a strongly worded statement on the matter — many corporations headquartered or with major hubs in Georgia were, in many cases, silent on the changes, according to The New York Times, prompting Sonnenfeld and others to organize corporate leaders in opposition to voting law changes.

“While no final steps were agreed upon, the meeting represents an aggressive dialing up of corporate America’s stand against controversial voting measures nationwide,” the Post reported Sunday.

Sonnenfeld, who spoke to The Washington Post about the call, said that the gathering shows that corporations will not be “cowed” into staying out of politics.

“They felt very strongly that these voting restrictions are based on a flawed premise and are dangerous,” he added.

“The discussion — scheduled to last one hour but going 10 minutes longer — was led at times by Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck, who told the executives that it was important to keep fighting what they viewed as discriminatory laws on voting,” the Post reported. “Chenault and Frazier coordinated a letter signed last month by 72 Black business executives that made a similar point — a letter that first drew attention to the voting bills in executive suites across the country.”

The Post’s Ed O’Keefe also noted that there was “mockery” directed at Mitch McConnell who warned corporations to “stay out of politics,” suggesting that consumers would respond to corporate efforts to oppose voter rights laws.

“There was a defiance of the threats that businesses should stay out of politics,” Sonnenfeld said, referencing McConnell’s comments. “They were obviously rejecting that even with their presence. But they were there out of concern about voting restrictions not being in the public interest.”

News of the call was met with deep concern from Republicans, who pointed out that calculated collaboration between corporate officials could quickly become problematic for consumers and others who might oppose a more “woke” agenda.

“If this happened in the service of a patriotic American cause, the media and the left would call it fascism,” strategist Dave Reaboi noted on social media. “Today it’s ‘voting laws’—within the next couple of years (or less), these forces will opine on every facet of American life and policy, destroying everyone in opposition.”

Others, like former Trump official Richard Grenell, warned that Republicans may want to reconsider their relationship with corporate America following news of coordination to oppose laws targeting vote fraud, particularly when it comes to advocating for corporate tax cuts at a federal level.

“It’s time Republican lawmakers stop protecting the large corporations who continue to pander to the Left,” Grenell said. “They reward the Left while getting protected by the Right. It’s time to stop. If the Left wants to raise corporate taxes – then let them.”

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley also weighed in, calling the gathering an example of “oligarchy.”

“Oligarchy defined: The most powerful corporations in America get together to plan how to control legislation in dozens of states,” Hawley said.

Although the call did not reach a conclusion, according to the Post, nor did the participants lay out a set strategy for opposing legislation, organizers suggested in their press release that they consider the coordination, itself, an achievement and noted that some of the corporate leaders present on the call plan to take action.

“CEOs indicated readiness to act individually and collectively to shore up American democracy and ensure Americans have access to a world-class voting system,” the group crowed in its release. “CEOs who participated in a live poll indicated they will re-evaluate donations to candidates supporting bills that restrict voting rights and many would reconsider investments in states which act upon such proposals.”

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member