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Vis Raghavan, co-head of global investment banking at JPMorgan Chase, reported recently that most of the company’s employees had returned to working in the office.

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard

Maybe it’s time for CEO Jamie Dimon to spend a little more time there as well, as it appears that he doesn’t know what’s going on at his shop.

You may recall that late last year Dimon declared that divestment from reliable, carbon-based energy would be “the road to hell for America” and that ESG amounts to “ceding governance to do-gooder kids on a committee”—about which many investors are, to put it mildly, not enthused.

Good heavens, just wait until he finds out how Chase actually does business.

First, there is L’affaire Brownback. Ambassador (and Senator and Governor) Brownback leads an organization called the National Committee for Religious Freedom, which opened an account at Chase. Chase closed it after 22 days and then lied about why, just as Chase has debanked other conservatives in the past – but, strangely, no left-wingers.

That seems an awful lot like there’s a committee of wokesters somewhere fairly high up at Chase – but presumably below Dimon – to which Dimon has ceded governance whether he knows it or not, and that they have put their partisan politics above Chase’s success or Dimon’s wishes in debanking on partisan grounds, and then lying and stonewalling about it.

That conclusion becomes nearly inescapable in light of the contemptible lengths to which some folks very high in the Chase organization have gone to keep the company from having to report about whether it discriminates against employees, clients and others on the basis of viewpoint and political participation.

The Alliance Defending Freedom has developed a Viewpoint Diversity Index (VDI). The purpose of the index is to determine which corporations are respectful of viewpoint diversity. This includes constitutionally protected viewpoints, such as those grounded in religion, and those that refuse to submit to degradation or discrimination on the basis of race, sex or orientation.

The index also queries about viewpoint more generally because diversity of viewpoint is the single type of diversity that really matters to a company’s success. Having enough variety of worldview so that there’s always someone in the room who’s both insightful enough and safe enough to be able to warn his colleagues when the company’s about to do something stupid, or is relying on biased or faulty assumptions, is vital to corporate success.

The way that these indices work is that the index authors distribute surveys for companies to fill out. The companies then decide whether or not complete the survey. The index authors can try to score companies that don’t participate, as with the VDI, but the index is more reliable, and the score undoubtedly better, if the companies do participate. Then, generally, the participating companies tout the scores they’ve earned on the index.

The organization I direct, the Free Enterprise Project, works through the shareholder-activism process to try to push corporations back to neutrality in political, social and environmental issues – away from the hard-left, full-woke position that so many of them have taken. In the course of that engagement over the years, we have noticed that a great many companies have been pressured into participating in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) “Corporate Equality Index,” and then shouting its score from the rooftops.

That index is very left-wing. In order to achieve a perfect score on it, companies must adopt the current activist-maximalist position (which is constantly changing) with regard to radical gender ideology, fully embracing the demands of self-proclaimed transgendered people even at the frequent and obvious expense of biological women and girls.

Embracing or subsidizing HRC, if participating in an index represents such endorsement, means accepting its lies about what congressional liberals were pleased to call the Equality Act, which would have decimated religious liberties and comprehensively harmed women and girls; and about Florida’s legislation protecting small school children from being confused by activist teachers’ discussions of sex and sexuality, which HRC falsely labeled the “don’t say gay” bill.

We identified organizations that garrulously congratulated themselves for high HRC index scores, but had refused to participate in the VDI, and tried to get them to adopt the VDI. One of these companies was Chase. Having learned that the way to get companies to adopt a new index was for big investors and clients to ask them to do so, we identified some of those very high-level investors who supported Chase’s adoption of the VDI and attempted to set up the necessary meeting to make the proper demonstration of interest.

Chase refused to have a meeting with these investors. This is the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and refusing to hear the information that would, under their own rules, force them to act in a non-partisan way, at least insofar as adopting an index that scores for non-discrimination and non-partisanship alongside the HRC index and other indices that award high scores for embracing highly partisan positions that discriminate against … well, the majority of the population.

In other words, Jamie Dimon’s JPMorgan Chase changes its own rules and then lies and then stonewalls to allow itself to go all in with all of its investors’ assets on behalf of the hard left. That’s a pretty long way away from what Dimon professes to want and appears to think is going on at his company. And it violates the company’s fiduciary duties to shareholders. Publicly traded companies simply can’t be run to advance the personal policy preferences of executives at the expense of profit and growth. That’s what’s happening at Chase, full stop.

If you oppose what’s happening at Chase, you can let them know by signing this petition. Your input, especially if you are a customer or shareholder, will help to illustrate Chase’s partisan double standard and its illegal violations of its fiduciary obligations.

Meanwhile, someone needs to let Dimon know how his company is actually run. It’s perfectly clear that some of his top lieutenants are directly defying him, running this too-big-to-fail bank – backstopped by all Americans – according to the very hard-left, woke-partisan tenets that Dimon has publicly and rightly rubbished.

Maybe someone will get him a copy of this column to get him up to speed. Some very powerful people at Chase, though, are obviously working very hard to keep him in the dark. So maybe the best thing would be for some of the fine folks of Capitol Hill to send him an invitation to come down to Washington to have a discussion in which they can explain to him in detail exactly what’s going on at his company, and encourage him to live up to his tough-guy stand by fixing the problems and relieving his company of the untrustworthy subordinates who are suborning his intentions and making him a laughingstock.

After all, I understand that those sort of discussions are usually televised.


Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of its Free Enterprise Project. This first appeared at RealClearMarkets.

Author: Scott Shepard