PepsiCo’s Lobbying for Cap and Trade Hit at Annual Meeting

Nooyi photoNLPC is the sponsor of a shareholder proposal that asks PepsiCo to report on its lobbying priorities. Here are my remarks today at the PepsiCo annual meeting in Plano, Texas:

I regret that PepsiCo opposes this resolution asking for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities. I would think that management would welcome the opportunity to explain its priorities.

PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership a coalition of corporations and environmental groups. USCAP’s mission is to “quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” The House of Representatives has obliged in the form of the Waxman-Markey bill. According to the Heritage Foundation, this bill would destroy over 1.1 million jobs, hike electricity rates 90 percent, and reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $10 trillion over the next 25 years.

If consumers have to spend all their money on their …

PepsiCo’s Lobbying for Cap and Trade to be Hit at Annual Meeting

PepsiCo logoNLPC is sponsoring a PepsiCo shareholder proposal asking for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities. At the PepsiCo annual tomorrow in Plano, Texas, I will argue that the company’s lobbying priorities are seriously out of whack.

I will cite PepsiCo’s membership in U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of corporations and environmental groups. USCAP’s mission is to “quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.” The House of Representatives has obliged in the form of the Waxman-Markey bill that would destroy over 1.1 million jobs, hike electricity rates 90 percent, and reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $10 trillion over the next 25 years.

Corporate membership in USCAP has become controversial in the wake of the “Climategate” scandal, and as the prospects for cap and trade have ebbed. BP, ConocoPhillips, and Caterpillar have withdrawn from the group. I will propose …

Boehm Predicts Resurgence of Legal Services Abuses if Reforms Are Gutted

Boehm testifying photoAt a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm was the lone witness opposed to reauthorization of the taxpayer-funded Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The April 27 hearing was chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who favors the reauthorization bill that increases the LSC budget to $750 million and strips out important reforms instituted in 1996.

Boehm warned that the reauthorization would mean a new round of problems for the scandal-plagued program. LSC funds a network of lawyers in dozens of communities to provide civil (not criminal) day-to-day legal help to poor people. Many LSC-funded lawyers spend their time on left-wing political and social causes, instead of helping the poor. Click here to download a 14-page pdf of Boehm’s testimony.

Because of controversy, LSC has not been reauthorized since 1977. A series of reforms were instituted in 1996 as appropriations riders to combat the politicization of the program.  The proposed …

Will Goldman Sachs Now End the Sanctimony?

Blankfein photoWith the SEC now charging Goldman Sachs with a billion dollar fraud, I hope CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his colleagues will end the sanctimony and indignation that has characterized their response to recent criticism of the firm, some of it coming from these quarters. The SEC charges come a day after reports surfaced that Goldman director Rajat Guptatold is under investigation for his possible role in the separate Galleon insider trading case.

We do not subscribe to the wilder conspiracy theories about Goldman, but we do have serious concerns in two areas:

1) Goldman Sachs exercizes undue influence on the government through a network of former Goldman executives who have rotated in and out of powerful government posts.

2) Goldman Sachs is one of the most profitable firms in the country. Yet, its executives and the company itself bankroll and promote of host of anti-business causes.

Neither of these things …

MSNBC Covers Steele/Sharpton Flap

MSNBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reported live on Wednesday, April 14 from the National Action Network (NAN) conference about NLPC’s request that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele cancel his Thursday speech. Steele should have listened to us. According to the New York Daily News:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele embraced the Rev. Al Sharpton as a “strong leader” yesterday while comparing some in his own party to an elephant’s rear end.

Steele so far has weathered a recent controversy over RNC spending, including a $2,000 tab at a bondage-themed club in California, which upset fellow Republicans.

But his speech to a midtown gathering of Sharpton’s National Action Network could set off a new round of GOP head-scratching.

Though Sharpton has long been vilified by Republicans, Steele hailed him as a “friend.”

This came during the same week that Sharpton attacked Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in racially-charged terms. …

Rep. Gregory Meeks Reports Subpoena to House

subpoena photoOn Tuesday, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) formally notified the House of Representatives that he had received a subpoena, as required by House rules. The subpoena was first reported by the New York Daily News on April 2 in the wake of our allegations that Meeks got a sweetheart deal on his house, and is involved with a charity that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never saw it.

Did Meeks and/or Pelosi sit on the subpoena notification until after the March 21 health care vote? It depends on when Meeks got the subpoena. House Rule VIII states:

Such notification shall promptly be laid before the House by the Speaker. During a period of recess or adjournment of longer than three days, notification to the House is not required until the reconvening of the House, when the notification shall promptly be laid before the House by the Speaker. (emphasis ours)

Are Republican National Committee Donors Now Bankrolling Sharpton?

Sharpton photoThe annual conference of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) runs today through Saturday in New York City. According to the official program, the “Republican National Convention” is among the 45 sponsors of the event that serves as Sharpton’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Perhaps the program was supposed to read “Republican National Committee.” According to NAN, sponsorship requires a contribution of $5,000 to $100,000.

If the RNC is now a donor to Sharpton’s group, it is another blow to RNC donors, already reeling from the lesbian bondage club episode. It would also mean that RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s staff has been less than forthcoming with me about the RNC’s actual involvement. Steele is speaking at the event this afternoon, an appearance we asked him to cancel. Yesterday, RNC Coalitions Director Angela Sailor insisted to me that Steele’s purpose in participating was to reach the 500-1,000 attendees …

RNC Chair Steele Refuses to Cancel Speech at Sharpton Event

Steele photoAngela Sailor, the Republican National Committee’s Director of Coalitions, called me today to inform me that Michael Steele will speak as scheduled at the annual conference of Al Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network (NAN). On April 4, NLPC asked Steele to withdraw from the event, which takes place tomorrow through Saturday in New York City.

When I went through each of our objections, Ms. Sailor gave me some permutation of the following:

Chairman Steele is going to New York to speak to 500-1,000 people in a ballroom to ask them to support Republican candidates.

When I asked if Steele might have better luck elsewhere, she claimed that many of the attendees are “independent,” who she characterized as “swing voters.” When I queried whether most attendees, who are paying for travel and New York hotel rooms, were more likely activists committed to Sharpton’s message, Sailor stuck to the …

Prokhorov NBA Bid Gets Scrutiny; ACORN-Funder Ratner Needs Russian Billionaire to Build Brooklyn Arena

Ratner & ProkhorovBruce Ratner is a New York real estate developer and owner of the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association. For five years, he’s been trying to move the team to a new arena in Brooklyn that he hopes to build, relying on New York’s powers of eminent domain to move hundreds of homeowners and businessmen out of their quarters.

The Brooklyn arena project, known as Atlantic Yards, is on life support. It is only being kept alive by an investment of Russia’s richest man, Mikhail Prokhorov, who is reportedly worth more than $13 billion. He is investing $200 million with Ratner for a 85% ownership interest in the Nets, and a 45% interest in the $4.9 billion arena project, which includes residential and office towers.

NBA owners are expected to soon vote on approving Prokhorov’s ownership bid, but today’s New York Post spotlights Prokhorov’s business dealings in Zimbabwe, …

Robert Rubin is a Disgrace

Rubin photoRobert Rubin’s obstinate performance yesterday on Capitol Hill is sure to fuel popular disgust with the bank bailouts. Rubin appeared to be what he is, someone who has walked away with so much money that he doesn’t have to answer to anyone. When he was responsive, Rubin tried to claim that he had nothing to do with Citigroup’s meltdown. He also tried to make it complicated, which it is not.

All you have to do is read pages 145 and 146 of Charlie Gasparino’s book, titled The Sellout, for a concise account of Rubin’s role in leveraging up Citigroup. Rubin not only pushed for more risk-taking at Citigroup’s executive and board levels, but he also “was making the rounds of the various departments and talking to people about taking more risk.”

I’ve never been a big fan of trial by Congressional hearing. This one was handed over to the …

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