LTP News Sharing:

Washington, D.C. – When confronted today by investor activists with the Free Enterprise Project (FEP), U.S. Bancorp CEO Andy Cecere doubled down on the company’s sponsorship of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a group which has vocally opposed a Florida anti-grooming law that protects young students from inappropriate sexual discussions within the classroom.

Ethan Peck

Ethan Peck

FEP’s Ethan Peck submitted the following question at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which was held virtually today:

U.S. Bancorp is a corporate partner of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which has lobbied ruthlessly against Florida’s anti-grooming legislation preventing teachers from speaking to children as young as 4 years old about sex and sexuality. In sponsoring HRC, U.S. Bancorp is then, in effect, using its shareholders’ assets to fund efforts to indoctrinate young children with radical gender ideology.

Do you believe it’s acceptable for teachers to discuss sex with kindergarteners? If not, will you end U.S. Bancorp’s sponsorship of HRC given its deeply disturbing agenda?

Since Cecere didn’t take shareholder questions directly – as would be customary at an in-person annual meeting – the questions were prescreened and rewritten before being “read” and answered, allowing Cerere to deflect:

I’m gonna paraphrase a question that just came in from the line. And the question is: U.S. Bank is a corporate partner of the Human Rights Campaign, which has taken an active stance on gender education in schools. Why does U.S. Bank support HRC?

I respond to say that we at U.S. Bank prize diversity, and support and work with a number of different organizations across the company, including the Human Rights Campaign. And it is a focus of ours as the way we run our business.

Peck’s question, as submitted, can be read here. Cecere’s reworded question and answer can be heard here.

“Clearly Cecere made an effort to avoid the PR nightmare that Disney is currently – and deservedly – facing, but he was more committed to pledging his allegiance to HRC,” responded Peck after the meeting. “In intentionally not addressing our concern about grooming, and then doubling down on U.S. Bancorp’s support for HRC, it’s fair to assume that Cecere and the U.S Bancorp board see no issue with teachers discussing sex with kindergartners and will continue to reallocate shareholder assets to professional groomers.”

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard

“Cecere and his team are frauds,” added FEP Director Scott Shepard. “We didn’t ask about generalized support for the HRC. We explicitly detailed ways in which HRC is pushing corporations to oppose laws favored by the vast majority of Americans, and lying about every aspect of the law. Support for HRC is support for aggressive fraudulence. And the way the company mangled our question is further fraudulence – fraud against the shareholders who had gathered in this annual meeting and deserved a full answer to the question asked.

“Fraud against shareholders is illegal,” continued Shepard. “Spending shareholder assets to fund organizations that are so disgraceful that their behavior is too appalling to bring up in front of shareholders is illegal and disgraceful. U.S. Bancorp must either stop funding the mendacious HRC or explain its position on the Florida law, the Equality Act and other legislation HRC supports and then lies about corporations supporting. If not, it has breached its duties to shareholders in ways that shareholders can and must respond to vigorously.”

Conservative investors can learn how to oppose leftism in corporate America by downloading FEP’s new “Balancing the Boardroom” guide. Another publication, the “Investor Value Voter Guide,” will be released this week. Sign up here to be notified about that publication and about other ways investors can push back on woke capitalism.

Today’s meeting marks the 7th time FEP has participated in a shareholder meeting in 2022. To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.

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.

FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work is prominently featured in Stephen Soukup’s new book The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business (Encounter Books) and Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

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.

Author: Jennifer Biddison