When the leaders of 100 corporations convened to plot an intervention in the voting laws of states, it was the result of a campaign by Ivy League academics and international-minded plutocrats that began long before Georgia lawmakers passed their Election Integrity Act.
The April 10 conference call, in which CEOs of multinational companies mocked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s warning that corporations should stay out of politics, was organized by three groups — the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute, and the Leadership Now Project — which have corralled private-sector CEOs to advance their political and economic agendas.
Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism
The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, which issued the press release about the meeting, has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Its founder is Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who married into the uber-wealthy Rothschild family in 2000 and serves as CEO of the E.L. Rothschild family investment firm.
For reference, here’s Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the organizer of the weekend call of 100 multinational corporate chieftains who oppose election integrity reforms.
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) April 12, 2021
“I applaud all the CEOs who use the power of their corporations for the common good,” de Rothschild said in the press release.
De Rothschild has said her coalition’s goal is to “reform capitalism.”
An essay co-written by de Rothschild said capitalism “often encourages shortsightedness, contributes to wide disparities between the rich and the poor, and tolerates the reckless treatment of environmental capital. If these costs cannot be controlled, support for capitalism may disappear.”
She began promoting similar ideas following the 2008 financial crisis, which fueled the Occupy Wall Street movement and a sea of resentment as big banks received government bailouts after their policies contributed to an economic collapse.
In 2014, de Rothschild and the City of London Corporation co-hosted the “Conference on Inclusive Capitalism,” at which one participant, McKinsey managing director Dominic Barton, said “there is growing concern that if the fundamental issues revealed in the crisis remain unaddressed and the system fails again, the social contract between the capitalist system and the citizenry may truly rupture.”
A Guardian writer translated that as concern that “global capitalists will be overthrown by the very populations currently overwhelmingly marginalised by their self-serving activity.”
A liberal Canadian politician deemed the event an admission that “some plutocrats accept the evidence that capitalism is no longer working for the middle class, and are trying to figure out what to do about that.”
— Ty Francis MBE (@tyfrancis) December 13, 2018
In December, de Rothschild partnered with Pope Francis to establish the Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican, described as “a global movement with other leaders transforming our economies and societies.”
The endeavor is led by a “core group of global leaders” who collectively control more than $10 trillion in assets. That group is known as the Guardians for Inclusive Capitalism and includes the heads of the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as well as Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck & Co., who reportedly led the April 10 conference call.
Last month, Frazier co-organized a letter signed by 72 black business leaders calling on corporate America to fight proposed legislation that they say restricts voting.
The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute (CELI) is billed as “the world’s first school for CEOs.”
Its founder is Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management whose consulting clients have included American Airlines, JPMorgan Chase, General Electric, and Marriott, while his speaking fees fall in the range of $50,000 to $75,000.
The Institute hosts CEO summits that have provided a steady stream of media narratives that told the world that corporate leaders did not support former president Donald J. Trump.
“Three-quarters of American executives and CEOs said they’ve apologized to international partners about President Trump’s rhetoric,” The Hill reported in 2018, citing data compiled by CELI.
A pre-election CNN headline trumpeted: “America’s CEOs say Trump failed on coronavirus –and they’re backing Biden,” citing “a poll conducted by the Yale School of Management.”
A mid-January Bloomberg headline said “CEOs in Yale Survey Expect New Capitol Attacks, Back Impeachment.” The article quoted Sonnenfeld as saying unidentified CEOs associated with his group thought there was a “larger conspiracy paying the hotel and travel costs of the insurrectionists.”
According to the report, “the CEOs, meeting in the second session in a week, reiterated unanimously that companies should cut off donations to legislators who sided with Trump in opposing the 2020 presidential election results.”
It continued: “Most of the executives supported blocking Trump on social media, and they unanimously supported the idea of putting people identified as participants in the Capitol riots on airline no-fly lists.”
Leadership Now Project
Leadership Now Project describes itself as “a membership organization of business and thought leaders taking action to fix American democracy” that “was incubated by a group of Harvard Business School alumni.”
Its CEO, Daniella Ballou-Aares, served as the Senior Advisor for Development to the Secretary of State during the Obama administration. She started her career at Bain & Company.
Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp has described national groups’ sudden interest in the Peach State as “a political play” by progressives searching for a justification for the U.S. Congress’s H.R. 1, which he calls “an unconstitutional power grab” that would federalize elections.
Leadership Now has made statements to that effect, pointing to Georgia as a reason why federal legislation was necessary.
Georgia’s voting bill, passed last night, severely curtails access to the ballot box, esp. for communities of color. HR1 is necessary to make sure laws like this cannot infringe on the right to vote. https://t.co/obVncWPMqv
— Leadership Now (@LeadershipNP) March 26, 2021
After an unruly mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Leadership Now encouraged CEOs to blacklist “those who enabled the President’s attempt to undermine democracy” by ensuring they “will have no opportunity for future employment with your company.”
Leadership Now Project asks corporate leaders to take a “Business for Racial Equity” pledge, which calls for companies to take action to dismantle “the biggest levers of racist power in this country,” including “biased policing.” The vow repeats teachings from prominent Black Lives Matter leaders who believe police forces exist to maintain America’s capitalist social order.
Last year, the organization recognized “a group of principled conservatives and Republicans” for its “2020 Democracy Defender list,” including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah “for voting his conscience on impeachment” and Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin “for consistently calling out threats to democracy.”
Leadership Now shares an address with the Washington D.C. branch of Dalberg Global Development Advisors. According to its website, the firm has 26 offices worldwide and blends “the best global ideas and innovations with the local practicalities and partnerships needed for effective implementation.”
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