Raising the issue of shareholder consent at shareholder meetings

April 19, 2012 | By | 3 Replies More

Public Citizen just sent me a (mass-mailed) email, indicating the following:

At shareholder meetings for Bank of America, Target and 3M, we’ll be calling out CEOs and demanding they stop spending company money on corporate electioneering.

Our basic argument is this: The CEOs of publicly traded corporations shouldn’t be able to use company money as their private political war chests — that money belongs to investors, largely working people with retirement accounts. In other words, corporations aren’t people, but shareholders are — and they have the right to stop corporate political spending (it’s the shareholders — not the executives — who actually own publicly traded corporations).

Demonstrations of public support for reining in corporate political spending and increasing disclosure will also will help build momentum toward longer term solutions, such as a constitutional amendment and public financing of elections.

This sounds like a great idea. If big public corporations want to use shareholder money for swaying public opinion and electioneering, they should have widespread shareholder consent.


Category: Campaign Finance Reform

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    My employer contracts health insurance through CIGNA. in 2011, CIGNA reported 21B in revenue and 1.3M in profits. They play down the 4M compensation for the CEO ( which, as part of the payroll is a business expense for the company ). David Cordani, the CEO, has promised the share holders a 20 percent increase in profits for 2012.

    While he could easily provide this increase by taking a minor pay cut, his management style is based on the principle of raising premiums while reducing coverage.

    In 2011, my employer renegotiated a 5 year contract with CIGNA. The monthly premium increased by by $400. Copays increased by 50 percent emergency room co-insurance increased, and a deductible was added.
    As of this year, drug copays doubled, some diabetic testing supply coverage was dropped, and durable medical supply coverage was reduced.
    On top of that, CIGNA followed other health insurers by claiming the right to conditionally redefine medical screening procedures ( which are fully covered ) as diagnostic procedures (which carry a hefty co-insurance fee ) if the screening reveals anything, however minor.
    For example: A colonoscopy is supposed to be covered but the insurance companies have found a loophole to avoid paying.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    It’s not so much a cost saving measure as it is a blatant end run around a provision of the affordable health care act requiring insurance companies to fully cover screening procedures for specific types of cancer and other illnesses.

    Insurance companies would save more by early detection and treatment of colon cancer than they save by redefining screenings as surgeries. What they are doing is intentionally sabotaging the health care reform.

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