Eliot Spitzer To Speak on Corporate Social Responsibility at Harvard Club (Not a Parody)

SpitzerAt first, I thought it was satire. Client #9 is scheduled to be a “keynote” speaker at something called the CRO Summit in Boston on April 21. CRO stands for Corporate Responsibility Officer. Yes, major corporations actually have such a position. The organizers’ apparent lack of self-consciousness about Spitzer confirms our view that the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility movement isn’t about responsibility at all. Instead, it is about advancing a set of political positions.

And what better place for such a politically correct event than in a seat of privilege like the Harvard Club. Spitzer, son of a real estate magnate and a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, should be right at home. To be fair, the Harvard Club is an alumni club and has no formal connection to the college. The CRO Summit organizers, a for-profit called SharedXpertise, are just renting the Club. Still, the imagery … Read More ➡

Northrop Drops Tanker Bid; NLPC Exposed Boeing Scandal

tankerOn Monday, Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that it would drop out of the competition with Boeing to build midair refueling tankers for the Air Force. Boeing had the original contract until NLPC exposed a scandal that sent two Boeing executives to prison.

The tankers are flying gas stations that refuel fighters and bombers on long-range missions. By exposing the scandal, NLPC saved taxpayers billions of dollars. The original plan was for the Air Force to lease, rather than buy, a hundred 767s to be used as tankers from Boeing. The new contract will be for the outright purchase of the planes.

In February 2008, the Air Force awarded a huge $40 billion contract to a Northrop/EADS consortium, after competition had been reopened in the wake of the scandal. Boeing then counter-attacked by successfully seeking to get the selection criteria changed and competition again reopened. Although NLPC had no favorite between … Read More ➡

SEC: Pepsi Must Allow NLPC Proposal on Lobbying Priorities Like Cap and Trade

Pepsi logoThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled that PepsiCo may not exclude a shareholder proposal filed by NLPC that asks the company for a report on its lobbying priorities. PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of corporations and environmental groups that lobbies for the disastrous cap and trade legislation.

Our resolution will appear in PepsiCo’s proxy materials, and I will speak in its support at the company’s annual meeting this spring.

By trying to preclude a shareholder discussion of this and other issues, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi seems unwilling to publicly defend the company’s controversial public policy positions, which is exactly the point of our resolution. Maybe the company should change its positions on cap and trade, and other issues where it sides with anti-business activists.

PepsiCo distributes Aquafina, reportedly the largest-selling brand of bottled water in the United States. Bottled … Read More ➡

BP, ConocoPhillips and Caterpillar Quit Cap-and-Trade Lobby Group; PepsiCo Should Do The Same

Nooyi photoAlthough they never should have been a part of it in the first place, three major companies have exited the 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 has obliged and the result, the Waxman-Markey bill, is too strong for both the Senate and the American people.

Instead of taking a principled stand against massive government intervention in the energy economy, corporate executives argued that global warming legislation was coming anyway, so it was better to be inside the room when it was negotiated. This was the same argument made by pharmaceutical companies when they threw their support behind Barack Obama’s health care plan.

This argument — that it is better to be in the room than “on the menu” — turned out to be just … Read More ➡

Wal-Mart Tries to Stop Shareholder Discussion of ObamaCare, Cap and Trade

Wal-Mart logoSuddenly at odds with public opinion on Barack Obama’s proposals on health care and global warming, Wal-Mart is seeking to exclude from its proxy our shareholder proposal that asks for a report on the company’s lobbying priorities.  As we noted in the supporting statement, Wal-Mart favors these proposals that will dramatically raise the cost of living for its customers, at the same time it has taken a lower profile on issues like tort reform that would benefit its customers, not to mention the company and its shareholders.

As we documented in our Special Report titled Wal-Mart Embraces Controversial Causes: Bid to Appease Liberal Interest Groups Will Likely Fail, Hurt Business, the company’s management has steered the company to the political Left under the guidance of Edelman public relations firm. With the public now turning against the very ideas that Edelman counseled Wal-Mart to embrace, it is no surprise that … Read More ➡

Black and Hispanic Broadcasters, Congressmen Seek Bailout

Maxine Waters photoRadio and television broadcasters – at least those catering to black and Hispanic audiences – soon may join financial services and auto manufacturers as the beneficiaries of a federal bailout. For the last half year, a group of executives of minority-themed media enterprises have been lobbying Capitol Hill to provide a boost to their money-losing operations. Having natural allies in the black and Hispanic congressional caucuses, they may win additional support from the Obama administration and any number of white lawmakers eager to expand their base of support. As it is, one of its key members already may have coaxed a loan modification from a financial giant. 

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), with fully 42 members, these past couple months have made little secret of their displeasure with Congress and the Obama administration, accusing them of giving scant attention to troubled black-owned businesses. Lawmakers such as Reps. Maxine Waters, … Read More ➡

Citigroup Refuses to Rule Out More ACORN Funding

Citigroup logoBailed-out Citigroup is not ruling out continuing its support for ACORN. Citigroup spokeswoman Andrea Hurst told Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com:

Just for the time being, we are still basically continuing to review materials as far as the internal audit or investigation is concerned. I don’t really have any comment beyond that at this stage.

Hurst is referring to the recently concluded “investigation” by ACORN ally Scott Harshbarger, a former Attorney General of Massachusetts. In response to NLPC’s request in September that Citigroup to end its support for ACORN, the bank said that it was “awaiting the results of the independent audit of ACORN activities now underway.”

As I told CNSNews.com:

The Harshbarger report is a whitewash and limited in scope. So, we are fearful that Citigroup will reinstate support based on this whitewash.

We also asked Citigroup to end the membership of one of its executives, Eric Eves, on the … Read More ➡

Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Bailed Out Again; CEO Pay Set for Huge Boost

Fannie Mae headquartersOne of the more entrenched principles in business is “pay for performance,” the rewarding of executives with raises, bonuses and other forms of compensation if they meet or exceed expectations. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now wards of the federal government, are negations of that principle. The troubled secondary mortgage lending giants, already having received more than $110 billion in federal subsidies since the fall of 2008, are set for another major feed at the public trough. On December 24, the U.S. Treasury Department, facing a December 31 deadline, approved a no-limit hike in the publicly-traded companies’ combined $400 billion credit line. Were that not enough, regulators approved an annual compensation package of up to $6 million for each chief executive officer. Welcome to pay for performance, Obama-style – not that the Bush version was a bargain.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, originally known as Federal National Mortgage Association … Read More ➡

Nonunion Delphi Retired Employees Get Shaft in Auto Bailout

Delphi CorporationWhen the Obama administration this past spring forced the bankrupt General Motors and Chrysler Corp. into virtual public receivership, officials justified the action as crucial to the survival of the auto industry and indeed the entire economy. Yet this unprecedented action has had several downsides, one of the less heralded of which has been the sudden vulnerability of current and retired employees who don’t belong to a union. Case in point: the roughly 15,000 nonunion retirees of auto parts manufacturer and former GM subsidiary Delphi Corporation on the verge of losing their pension, health insurance and life insurance benefits. These people are getting a first-hand lesson in the drawbacks of not being politically connected. That’s something members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and other auto industry-related unions don’t have to worry about. 

GM and Chrysler are now wards of Obama administration “car czar” Ron Bloom and his immediate boss, Treasury Secretary … Read More ➡