The Transparency Charade
May 7, 2013
Michael Warren has an important, must-read (subscription may be required) in the Weekly Standard that exposes the hidden agenda behind the “transparency” campaign sweeping corporate America. The effort is being led by a group called the Center for Political Accountability, which bills itself as a nonpartisan organization, but whose true purpose is to “convince (some might say force) [companies] to get out of politics entirely.”
Led by former Democratic Hill staffer Bruce Freed, the group works to intimidate companies into shutting down all political advocacy efforts under the guise of transparency. The not-so-subtle hope is to embarrass companies that support conservative candidates and causes in order to tilt spending toward the left, whose funders, such as public employee unions, are immune to public pressure. In addition to lobbying CEOs and other corporate officer directly, according to Warren:
“In recent years, CPA and its allies have used the proxy process aggressively to hassle corporate boards to adopt more sweeping disclose of their political spending. According to As You Sow, an umbrella group for activist shareholders, at least 125 proposals related to political spending are expected in the 2013 proxy season, a figure that has more than doubled in three years.”
A Manhattan Institute investigation revealed that just 17 percent of shareholders in Fortune 200 companies supported similar transparency proposals in 2012. So Freed and the Center also apply public pressure by ranking companies according to its own transparency index and releasing the results to a compliant media. In addition, the Center is pushing the SEC to adopt a new rule requiring all public companies to disclose their political spending.
If this overall strategy – pushing politics to the left under a good government guise – sounds eerily similar to the “merit” selection campaign, you’re right. If fact, the Center for Political Accountability – like Justice at Stake – is bankrolled by George Soros and aided and abetted by other Soros-funded groups such as MoveOn.org, Common Cause, and Media Matters.
These groups work together seamlessly to bludgeon any company that dares support a conservative candidate. One recent corporate victim, Warren points out, was Target:
“ … when it contributed $150,000 to the political group MN Forward in 2010. MN Forward say it supports ‘pro-business’ candidates and gave money to Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Emmer also backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. When Target disclosed its contribution to MN Forward, all hell broke loose. MoveOn.org … organized gay-rights protests at Target stores across the country and … delivered to the retailed a petition promising a boycott signed by 24,000 people.”
The campaign worked. Not only did Target halt its contributions to MN Forward, it significantly curtailed all political donations, especially those supporting individual candidates.
The ultimate goal of the Soros-funded transparency charade is clear: Intimidate companies into giving up their right to free speech – and their right to contribute to the candidates of their choice – and tilt the political playing field further to the left.