Over 100 corporate leaders met virtually on Saturday, to discuss how best to attack crucial election integrity legislation being passed at state level.
The corporate leaders met on a Zoom call on Saturday, and discussed election integrity legislation that has been passed in some states like Georgia, with more legislation going through the legislatures of various other states, a move that CBS News described as “a signal that the nation’s premier businesses are preparing a far more robust, organised response to the ongoing debate.”
As National File reported, various corporations have so-far attacked election integrity legislation, with Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola most notably going after the legislation that was passed in Georgia. Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian claimed the bill was “unacceptable,” that it was “based on a lie,” and includes “provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.”
Here is @Delta memo from CEO on Georgia voting bill: “I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable… The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true” pic.twitter.com/1KetMY6Ihh
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) March 31, 2021
Georgia House Republicans responded to the attacks by voting to strip Delta of a fuel tax-break worth millions of dollars. “They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them,” said House Speaker David Ralston said. “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes.” However, the Senate refused to hear the vote, disappointing many.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale University management professor who helped organise the meeting along Lynn Forester de Rothschild, described the gathering as “an enthusiastic voluntary statement of defiance against threats of reprisals for exercising their patriotic voices.” Sonnenfeld claimed that the corporate leaders recognised that “they need to step up to the plate and are not fearful of these reprisals”:
They’re showing a disdain for these political attacks. Not only are they fortifying each other, but they see that this spreading of disease of voter restrictions from Georgia to up to possibly 46 other states is based on a false premise and it’s anti-democratic… These CEOs said, “Enough of that, we’re going to come together and reinforce our fellow CEOs.” It was a statement of affirmation that the voice of business in the political world is worthwhile.
The meeting of 90 CEOs and another 30 invited corporate leaders and experts included a number of extremely prominent attendees, such as: news tycoon and son of Richard Murdoch, James Murdoch; Doug McMillion, the CEO of Walmart; Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines; Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn; Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS; Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Joe Biden also supported a move from the MLB to relocate its All-Star game out of Atlanta as a response to the legislation. The meeting suggests that these current efforts will massively expand.
Senator Tom Cotton slammed the meeting on Twitter, saying that the country has not seen “this level of corporate activism since Congress tried to stop slave labour in China,” referring to an incident when Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, and other corporations lobbied against a bill designed to crack down against imported goods made with slave labour from China’s Xinjiang province. “Will the same CEOs who lobbied against cracking down on forced labour lecture Americans about the ‘evil’ of voter ID?” Cotton added. “Has a single one of these CEOs even read Georgia’s election law?”
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 12, 2021
— Logan Hall (@loganclarkhall) April 12, 2021
Ironically, the election integrity legislation in Georgia has received criticism from some for not going far enough. In a statement, President Trump said the legislation was “far too weak and soft to ensure real ballot integrity,” attacking Governor Brian Kemp for caving to the “radical left-wing woke mob who threatened to call him racist,” and failing to get rid of weekened voting.