Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin recently joined 22 other state attorneys general in a public letter addressing the rising trend of politicized de-banking.
The letter urges proxy voting advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Service and Glass Lewis to give equal treatment and provide transparency in their advice regarding shareholder resolutions that address de-banking.
Family Council has written repeatedly about how de-banking hurts charities and conservative causes.
In 2021, our credit card processor — a company owned by Chase Bank — canceled our account with virtually no notice and no explanation.
In 2022, Chase abruptly closed the account of Ambassador Sam Brownback’s National Committee for Religious Freedom with little warning or explanation, and PayPal similarly disabled the account of a group called the Free Speech Union.
All of this prompted Arkansas and several other states to send a letter to the CEO of JPMorgan Chase expressing deep concern over the company’s pattern of de-banking conservative groups last May.
The A.G.’s letter to Institutional Shareholder Service and Glass Lewis voices similar concerns over these issues, saying,
Your companies, International Shareholder Services, Inc., and Glass Lewis & Co., provide proxy voting advice to many businesses and investors who are citizens of our States as well as to our States’ investment vehicles.
That voting advice directly impacts how our Nation’s largest companies operate. . . .
Your lack of transparency is troubling. And your voting recommendations on debanking proposals may breach your legal obligations. We seek more transparency and written assurance that you will cease any practice that violates the law, including your duty to act in the best interest of the citizens of our States, or your stated policies on recommendations.
While billing themselves as viewpoint-neutral, both ISS and Glass Lewis regularly endorse shareholder resolutions for left-of-center causes such as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). At the same time, the firms have consistently opposed resolutions calling for transparency and internal reporting on potential instances of politically motivated de-banking—resolutions dismissed by ISS as “anti-ESG” along with nearly every other conservative proposal.