Politicized shareholder resolutions are the must-have tactic this year in the union campaign to scare businesses out of exercising their free speech rights. So far, they're a bellyflop.Unions and campaign-finance scolds threw everything they had at WellPoint in recent weeks in retribution for the health insurer's political donations, but at the company's annual meeting Wednesday shareholders easily rejected two proposals intended to shut the company up.The first, brought by union front Change to Win, asked shareholders to vote against board members Julie Hill and Susan Bayh (wife of former Indiana Senator Evan Bayh) because of the board's refusal to disclose political spending.
The disclosure gambit is key to the left's strategy of intimidating businesses from spending on politics to compete with unions and liberal billionaires like Peter Lewis of Progressive insurance. The political bludgeoning will continue, but at least this year the effort to vilify corporations that have exercised their First Amendment rights isn't getting the kind of traction the activists had in mind.
In other, completely unrelated, news -
Some shareholders are intensifying their calls for a shake-up at the top of News Corp on the back of the British parliamentary report. Change to Win, an advisory group that works with pension funds with over $200bn in assets, called for Murdoch to resign. Senior policy analyst Michael Pryce-Jones said News Corp's board should meet to form a succession plan immediately. "This is a company in crisis," he said.