The Center for Political Accountability released its "Conflicted Consequences" report on July 21, a study that shows despite corporate PR promises about pursuing environmental, social and governance commitments, companies are "laundering" contributions via 527 organizations to undermine those lofty vows.
Amid such heady rhetoric, the Report "is a bracing reminder that talk, when not backed by action is cheap," wrote Yale professor Jacob Hacker and UC Berkeley's Paul Pierson in their forward to the CPA study. "Indeed in few places today is the gap between word and deed as wide as it is in the political spending of American corporations."
The 527 organizations take corporate cash and then spend it to advance a broad political agenda. "For corporations pursuing agendas they do not want scrutinized, this type of spending has three big advantages over traditional political spending: it is less likely to attract attention than PAC contributions that go directly from firms to candidates; it is effectively laundered by running through the 527 organization so the donor can duck accountability for specific uses of the money; and it allows the resources of many companies to be pooled to achieve maximum impact," wrote Hacker and Pierson.
While both Republicans and Democrats run 527 organizations, the bulk of corporate money flows to GOP-affiliated groups that work against stated corporate ESG commitments.
The Report tracks $800M in spending for GOP-tied 527 groups, of which 46.6 percent of the amount came from companies and their trade groups, vs. $475M in Democratic-affiliated 527s.
The CPA monitored money flowing to the Republican Attorneys General Assn., which filed a lawsuit in 2018 to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
Facebook, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Walmart, Noble Energy, Altria, Southern Co., Pinnacle West, Anthem, and Mallinckrodt rank among the top 20 corporate donors to the RAGA.
More than 20M Americans would lose healthcare coverage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, if the RAGA succeeds in trashing ObamaCare.
The Report also found corporate hypocrisy on climate change. Though companies such as Uber, ExxonMobil, Western Union, Intel, HP, DuPont, Bank of America and Microsoft publicly support the Paris Climate Accords, they donated to the RAGA, which filed the lawsuit to kill the Clean Power Plan, which would help fight global warming.
The CPA also tracked corporate spending designed to boost racial gerrymandering, restrict women's reproductive rights and promote anti-LGBTQ legislation.
The group believes its study highlights the increasing risk that companies face from their political spending.
"When corporations take a public stand on such issues as racial injustice or climate change, the money trail illustrated here can lead to their boardroom door," the CPA said. "It can reflect a conflict with a company’s core values and positions."
There's been a lot of good reading about the Trump administration (John Bolton's "The Room Where it Happened") and the dysfunctional Trump family (Mary Trump's "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man") of late.
But it's Michael Cohen's upcoming book that may do the most damage to the re-election bid of the president.
A federal judge on July 23 ordered the release into home custody of Donald Trump's former fixer. Alvin Hellerstein ruled that Cohen was sent back to jail earlier this month as "retaliation" for his memoir, which is tentatively titled, "Disloyal: The True Story of Michael Cohen, Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump."
The book must have been a tough one for a former loyalist like Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, to write. According to Cohen's July 21 lawsuit, "Disloyal" will describe anti-Semitic remarks made by Trump about prominent Jewish people and racist remarks against Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.
Hellerstein said Cohen has the "First Amendment right to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media or with others."
Cohen, who was thrown under the bus by Trump, may wind up with the best revenge.
Say it ain't so, Ryan. There's something ironic about LinkedIn, the networking site that helps people connect to get jobs, laying off six percent (960 people) of its workforce.
In a memo to "Team," CEO Ryan Roslansky wrote that the global pandemic has impacted LinkedIn as "fewer companies, including ours, need to hire at the same volume they did previously."
He pledged to help "impacted employees look for other roles within the company, build new skills and land on their feet if they no longer have a role at LinkedIn."
The company will provide exiting workers a minimum of ten weeks of severance pay and bonuses. The package also includes LinkedIn learning courses on interview prep, compensation fundamentals, job search strategies, and integrating into a new role.