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Tuesday July 22nd 2014

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Business for Democracy and ASBC Lead Effort to Overturn Citizens United v. FEC

The Business for Democracy Campaign, which the American Sustainable Business Council is spearheading in partnership with Free Speech for People is tackling the compelling issue of corporate contributions to political campaigns.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision on January 21, 2010 allows corporations to spend unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates for political office, overturning campaign finance laws in place for decades. The Business for Democracy campaign is an initiative of business leaders and their companies who believe this ruling is in direct conflict with American democratic principles and a serious threat to good government. The campaign supports the four members of the Supreme Court and the 80 percent of Americans who disagree with the decision (Washington Post poll, Feb. 17, 2010).

If you'd like your business to join this effort, you can sign the statement of support here or here.

Robert A.G. Monks Statement to 2008 ExxonMobil Annual Meeting

Posted June 20, 2008

Robert A.G. Monks Statement to 2008 ExxonMobil Annual Meeting in support of a shareholder proposal to separate the roles of CEO and Chairman of the Board at Exxon. Monks is a member the Ethical Markets Research Advisory Board.

“I have been here before, but I think I should explain why I’m here. I’m here for two reasons. First, I believe that shareholders have a role in the governance of modern corporations. I believe that when shareholders call to the attention of directors who they elect and to whom the directors are accountable, matters of importance in the governance of the corporation that the directors should take their concern seriously. I think that when over a period of five years the support for these resolutions goes from some 20% to some 40% that any reasonable board would make the effort to inform themselves as to whether they want an opinion of which they hadn’t previously been aware. I am sure the Board has experts, and I would love to see their expert opinion; but the fact of the matter is, Mr. Tillerson, no director of this corporation has ever contacted me about this resolution, and I have spoken to no officer of this corporation for five years. I consider that irresponsible and a reason to withhold votes from all of the directors.”

“The second reason I am here is because ExxonMobil is a great corporation. The fact that it is a great corporation is important. It is important to its owners, it is important to the directors its import to the employees and it is important to the world that this great company be able to take the leadership in the extraordinary problems the world now has in trying to figure out how are we going to be able to provide the energy that is going to be the wealth that’s going to keep this world advancing in a positive level.”

“The success of ExxonMobil is perhaps one of the critical factors in whether or not people have pensions in this country. It is one of the largest holdings of every pension fund in the world. So the reason why I come year after year and say I think we ought to consider is it possible there is something they haven’t thought of, is it possible it is a different frame of reference. There isn’t any cookie cutter that says every company should be run the same way. But is this really something that you are thinking about? Have you seriously been looking into it? If you are, you haven’t asked me.”

Bob Monks

100 Monastery Road

Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

The proposal was supported by 39.5% of the 4.4 billion shares cast.
For more on Bob’s views regarding shareholder responsibility, view Bob’s recent CNBC Interview www.ragm.com/exxon_video.html

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