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BY GQ PAN
Election workers count ballots at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve a resolution that establishes a non-partisan audit of the 2020 general election, in an effort to restore the public’s faith in the state’s future elections.
The resolution passed in a largely party line vote of 112–90, reported Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It allows the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC), which is made up by an equal number of Republicans and Democrats from the state House and Senate, to examine the election procedures to both confirm the accuracy of the results as well as provide suggestions for improvement.
The Republicans generally voted in favor of the audit, arguing that a review of the state’s election system is necessary, especially after the confusion and chaos stemming from this year’s high-turnout election with large-scale mail-in voting.
State Rep. Jesse Topper (R), the prime sponsor of the resolution, noted that the audit is not about questioning the results of the 2020 election, but to scrutinize the process to guarantee integrity in future elections.
“Elections are the bedrock of our form of government,” Topper said in a statement. “I firmly believe that this risk-limiting audit by the LBFC, much like similar audits being conducted in other states, will provide a statistical level of confidence in not only the outcome of this past election, but ensure trust in all future elections here in the Commonwealth.”
While the Pennsylvania Department of State does conduct its own audit of every election, which is based on small sample sizes, the LBFC risk-limiting audit would include much larger samples, according to state Rep. Bryan Cutler (R).
“Pennsylvania voters saw a much different election when filling out ballots in November,” Cutler said in a statement. “Every county used new voting machines after Gov. [Tom] Wolf decertified every machine in the state over security concerns, or millions of people voted by mail for the first time. A thorough audit tests assumptions, confirms accuracy, and restores faith in our process for every Pennsylvanian.”
The Democrats mostly rejected the measure, arguing that the LBFC doesn’t have the authority to conduct such an audit.
“The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee has no expertise or role in election administration and no statutory authority outside the fiscal realm, and it is inappropriate to pretend it does,” Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement. “An audit by the LBFC would be incomplete, duplicative, and unreliable.”
“Interference by partisan legislators in Harrisburg is wrong,” Wolf added. “It creates chaos and confusion and should be rejected. A reliable audit conducted by election experts is the best way for all Pennsylvanians to trust the results of this election.”
Author: Frances Rice
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When the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) was founded, there was pushback within the conservative movement about shareholder activism.
People would ask why conservatives should be questioning the actions of American businesses and – by extension – the free-market system that has made America so successful. The answer was easy then, and it is unflinchingly apparent now.
In an interview with Klint Macro and Matt Mallory of “Meet the Pressers,” FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq. pointed out that the left is now using American businesses to attack speech, guns, religion and life in such a way that our “traditional liberties [are] being offended.”
Justin asked: “How many more sensibilities can they offend before we say something?”
As an advocate for gun owners, Macro admitted that he has experienced “corporate censorship” in his work – finding impediments set up in the businesses community that have restricted his social media footprint, blocked his access to certain technologies and reduced his banking options. And this hardship was all because he wanted to “exercise a constitutional right.”
Justin affirmed Macro’s suspicion that the left’s dealings with corporate America are “about silencing you.” Left-wing activists have realized that having businesses in their corner means “you don’t need to change a law to change the culture.”
When the National Center put FEP together, “no one on the conservative side was doing this.” Justin explained:
We realized there was a whole slew of liberal activist organizations that were engaged in shareholder activism. They were buying up stock in these companies so they had a voice in the room to pressure them on whatever their pet issue was.
Conservatives cannot ignore what’s happening. To do so risks corporate America becoming as “woke” and as destructive as colleges campuses are today.
And that’s why conservatives and people of faith cannot simply threaten to boycott or similarly withdraw themselves from the fight. “The left wins by engagement,” Justin noted.
Thankfully, more conservatives are beginning to realize the severity of the problem:
I think folks are starting to see, at least, all the bad actors… [But] they don’t really know what to do about it.
It can be as simple as speaking up.
Lots of people own stock. Not as many realize the power that their investments give them. Justin provided a few examples of how people can get involved in bringing corporate politics back to neutral:
- Owning a single share of stock allows an investor to attend annual shareholder meetings where they can praise or pan company policies to the board of directors, the CEO and other top managers.
- Owners of more stock have the option to file shareholder resolutions that can get the attention of corporate leaders and investors in addition to possibly changing company policies.
- Around 30% of investors don’t vote their shares for board members, shareholder resolutions and other company business – but this voting tool alone could be incredibly powerful if it was engaged.
- Conservative employees who feel their values and sensibilities are being challenged should speak up to their managers or human resources staff.
This last part is the least-realized part of the three-front approach that leftists have used in their current occupation of corporate America:
- Outside-in – shareholder activism and protests
- Top-down – an increasing trend for search firms to recommend left-leaning board candidates
- Bottom-up – employees agitating for change from within
Justin reiterated that conservatives need to be engaged if they want companies to even consider their positions and values:
You think every Gatorade employee is happy that the company donated to the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization? I’m guessing not. But did any of the conservative employees who are offended by that say anything? Probably not.
Managers need to hear from both sides.
That’s why FEP is on the ground – filing resolutions, attending shareholder meetings, talking with corporate leaders and employees and educating the public about what is happening and what they can do. Justin mentioned a few of FEP’s corporate skirmishes during the interview, including:
- FEP’s poll and shareholder presentation about how Levi’s anti-gun activism hurt the company’s reputation
- A confrontation with the CEO of Bank of America that preceded the institution going back on its pledge to not make loans for firearms matters
- Joy Behar of “The View” being forced to apologize on-air to Christians after Justin told Disney CEO Bob Iger her personal apology to Vice President Mike Pence was not enough
Engagement with corporate America is key, and it’s where conservatives need to change their habits and prepare to operate in uncomfortable territory. But it’s important, because everything they hold dear is at stake.
The post Left’s Big Business Activism is “About Silencing You” appeared first on The National Center.
Author: David Almasi
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Conservatives and people of faith need to “engage with companies” to prevent them from being wholly taken over by a left-wing political agenda.
“If we don’t engage,” said Justin Danhof, Esq., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), “we can just kiss corporate America goodbye and consider it the next college campus.”
In a conversation with Bradley Foundation President Rick Graber, Justin said that conservatives, moderates and people of faith must resist the urge to boycott and withdraw themselves from any further contact when they find themselves at odds with a company siding with the leftist agenda. The fact that the left-wing activists are so involved with big business is why they have been so successful:
The left is successful at being the tail that wags the corporate dog because of engagement – not disengagement… Engagement is the way to succeed in this battle.
Justin explained that the left exerts a lot of influence over corporate America through its manipulation of the “environment, social and governance” (ESG) process. Previously existing under names such as “corporate social responsibility” and “socially responsible investing,” ESG is now the “vehicle for the political left to try to influence corporate decision-making.”
A “cadre of shareholder activists” that he estimates to be just under 100 groups strong is responsible for campaigns targeting corporate leaders through shareholder resolutions and other activities designed to advance their radical agenda:
They do this for a simple reason.
They know that you don’t need to change a law to change the culture. That corporate America, and the actions of large publicly traded companies, have a tremendous influence on our culture because politics is downstream from culture.
And the left knows that well. And that’s why they engage so regularly with corporations. And they engage at a high and successful level.
As an example, Justin brought up the religious freedom bill that was passed by the Georgia legislature in 2016. Similar to existing law at the federal level and in many other states, it was nonetheless opposed by the LGBTQ lobby. Special interests leveraged the power of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and even the National Football League to pressure then-Governor Nathan Deal to veto the bill – which he did.
This example, Justin noted, shows how “corporate America can move much faster than the legal or political process” and – in this case in particular – “had more power than anyone else.”
Justin also remarked that CEOs have backed themselves into a corner.
A letter authored by the Business Roundtable and signed by over 180 corporate leaders proposed watering down companies’ fiduciary responsibility to their investors and welcoming unaffiliated “stakeholders” into the corporate governance process. This has simply opened up companies to new complaints and resolutions based on their support of this concept.
“If these companies thought that this statement was somehow going to appease the left-wing mob,” Justin joked, “they don’t really understand the mob that well.”
He also noted that, when it comes to shareholder resolutions, “the vote, my friends, is rigged.”
Evidence of that can be found in a resolution passed at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting to hold the energy company to the regulations of the international Paris climate accord – an agreement from which the Trump Administration withdrew because it was considered to be bad for American businesses.
The reason investors voted against Chevron’s interests in that case is indicative of a larger problem: proxy advisor services make faulty recommendations to fund managers, who in turn vote against free enterprise on behalf of their clients. And Justin noted that the top two proxy advisor services, which control 97% of that industry, “support all manner of left-wing ESG shareholder resolutions.”
This is a “big” threat to retirement security since fund managers are supposed to be making the best financial decisions for their clients, and “politicizing their money is not the way to do it.”
That’s why action by the U.S. Department of Labor, supported by FEP and detailed by Justin in the Bradley video, is helping protect 401(k)s and private pension plans by reining in the influence of proxy advisors and fund managers who are forgetting their responsibilities to investors. When it comes to the leftist ESG agenda, Justin said:
It’s not anything that is in the interest of a publicly traded company or their shareholder price of their value.
Justin highlighted how FEP engages in its own activism on behalf of conservatives and people of faith to promote free market ideals and traditional values. In particular, FEP participates by:
- Standing up for investors by opposing the ESG agenda at shareholder meetings.
- Filing its own shareholder resolutions promoting free-market and traditional priorities.
- Acting as a proxy advisor with its own “Investor Value Voter Guide” that highlights and explains key shareholder resolutions and recommends how people should vote on them.
Justin was the third grant recipient of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation to be profiled in the organization’s “We the People” web series. Others have been Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Trent England of Save Our States.
To read National Review’s coverage of Justin’s interview – “Everything You Needed to Know About Shareholder Activism” – click here.
The post In Bradley Series, Danhof Urges Conservative Engagement with Corporate America appeared first on The National Center.
Author: David Almasi
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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Author: Frances Rice
LTP News Sharing:
Author: Frances Rice