The Slatest

CEOs Consider Donation, Investment Freeze to Fight GOP Voting Bills

Voters line up for the first day of early voting outside of the High Museum polling station on December 14, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Voters line up for the first day of early voting outside of the High Museum polling station on December 14, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently called on business leaders to “stay out of politics” after several companies stood up in opposition to the new controversial voting law in Georgia. But a group of more than 100 chief executives and business leaders made clear over the weekend they have no plans to stay silent. The group, which included executives from some of the country’s biggest companies, met over Zoom on Saturday to discuss what they could do to push back against the rising number of controversial voting bills that are propping up in states across the country and could make it more difficult for people to vote. Among the possibilities being considered is a freeze on donations to politicians who support the bills and delaying investments in states that pass the measures, reports the Washington Post.

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The participants in the call didn’t come to a conclusion but the overarching goal of the call was to get together companies that had already expressed an interest in speaking up against Georgia’s new voting law. The online gathering “shows they are not intimidated by the flak. They are not going to be cowed,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale management professor, who was one of the organizers of the call, said. “They felt very strongly that these voting restrictions are based on a flawed premise and are dangerous.”

During the call, Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck, called on CEOs to sign a statement against the legislation on voting that they see as discriminatory. The statement could be released early this week, according to the Wall Street Journal, which says it would build on a letter that a group of 72 Black executives signed last month opposing Georgia’s new restrictive voting law. The call included representatives from Delta, American, United, Starbucks, Linkedin, Target, Levi Strauss, and Boston Consulting Group along with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

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