Washington D.C. – With the January 6th Committee expected to release its latest findings today on how close the nation came to losing its democracy, Accountable.US issued letters today to the CEOs of all Fortune 100 companies detailing how the majority of companies have not done their part to protect democracy, despite overwhelming public demand for businesses to do so. CLICK HERE to view the letters, and see the excerpt below.
In September, Accountable.US launched its major ‘American Democracy Scorecard’ project – a living, public interactive resource that scores all Fortune 100 companies’ actions around critical democracy issues, based upon its political spending, public statements on voting rights or democracy, affiliations with special interest groups working to expand or undermine democracy, transparency in political activities, and other efforts such as providing voter information resources to customers or employees. In its initial review, Accountable.US found two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies received an F grade on their commitment to preserving democracy.
In addition to the letters to CEOs, Accountable.US has launched a six-figure paid media effort promoting the American Democracy Scorecard, including video ads on major streaming services and podcasts, as well as Google Search ads and display ads on business and news sites and Facebook/Instagram. Targeted audiences include policymakers, executives, and business school students in cities around the country that are home to the Fortune 100.
Excerpt from Letter from Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig to Home Depot CEO Ted Decker:
I am writing on behalf of Accountable.US, a nonpartisan investigative research organization that has been documenting the corporate response to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the wave of voter suppression efforts that followed at the state level, and efforts in Congress to protect the right to vote. We have unfortunately found that Home Depot ranks among the worst of the Fortune 100 companies in terms of supporting our nation’s most sacred institution – democracy.
Industry apathy towards the very real and ongoing threat to our democracy is simply short-sighted. Surveys have shown that Americans want corporations to use their power and influence to strengthen it. One survey from Data for Progress found a majority of voters “say they would be less likely to buy from a corporation that donated to members of Congress who voted to overturn the presidential election results,” yet your company gave almost $360,000 to these lawmakers.
A May 2022 Morning Consult survey found “64%+ of consumers say that a business with a public commitment to democracy shows the business cares about its customers, their employees, and has the right values.” That same Morning Consult survey found that nearly half (45%) of consumers say they are more likely to accept a job if their employer or future employer participated in the democratic process. These surveys even came before the January 6th Committee in Congress began releasing their stunning findings on how twice-impeached former President Trump and many of his congressional allies incited the Capitol riot with the intent of negating the will of the American people.
It is easy to see from these surveys that consumers and employees want to be part of companies that share their values and stand up for our democracy. But too many companies are using phrases like ‘corporate social responsibility’ or ‘environmental, social, and governance-friendly,’ while their actions appear to be more about preserving their political influence than preserving democracy, even though the latter is what really impacts their bottom line.
But what could be more socially responsible than stepping up and protecting democracy? What could be more good governance than upholding the rule of law? How does supporting policymakers peddling the Big Lie align with any of these values? It doesn’t. If companies truly supported democracy, they would match their political activity with their purported values.
It is clear that companies that play an active role in preserving democracy will only find it is good for their business and the economy overall. Even your peers agree: a staggering 96% of business leaders say the existence of a well-functioning democracy is “important” to a strong economy, the Morning Consult survey found. But for whatever reason, your company has chosen to go down another path: to make little effort to uphold democracy or voting rights; to pay lip service to democratic ideals while taking actions that undermine democracy; to funnel money to lawmakers who have pushed the Big Lie and supported legislation that would make it harder to vote – particularly in already marginalized communities.
At the end of the day, Americans overwhelmingly say corporations like Home Depot should stand up for democracy. Consumers, employees, and shareholders alike want to buy from, work for, or invest in a company that shares their values, not just one that preserves its bottom line. They do not want lip service to democratic ideals and the rule of law from companies that at the same time support policymakers peddling the Big Lie.”