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Leftist Shareholder Activism Is Financial Terror

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file

A political guerrilla warfare tactic used by the Left doesn’t get the media coverage it should.  While the complicit media sleeps, the anti-gun industry liberal shareholder activists are engaging in a form of domestic terror that has banks and credit card companies altering their policies about who to do business with.  


Recall the code name Operation Choke Point.  This was described as “a plot by President Obama’s Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other government agencies to cut off banking and financial services for small businesses and industries that they deemed to be political enemies or otherwise undesirable. Some of these businesses included gun stores, ammunition shops, fireworks stores, small-dollar lenders, and home-based charities.” Think about that. It was a tool of political warfare that used the power of the federal government by weaponizing the FDIC to go after political enemies or undesirables. In other words, the government of the United States developed an “enemies list.” Trust that the targets were conservatives. This reminds me of when the Obama-led IRS was frustrating conservative groups to get tax-exempt charity status.

Documents obtained after a lawsuit against the Obama-led FDIC, reveal "a shocking abuse of power and conspiracy to single out an industry and bring it to its knees, something far away from a regulatory agency’s requirement to proceed according to the rule of law and due process,” said Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA).  Shaul goes on to tell how “despite hearing statements to the contrary from government officials for years, these records prove that there was an intentional and targeted campaign to carry out an illegal policy. If personal preference and subjectivity is the guide for regulation, an awful precedent is set, and there is no end to the interests that can be targeted – pro-choice groups, environmental causes, religious groups and many more.” Unreal. This was precisely what the Founding Father’s feared with an unbridled federal government. Government abuse was what the Constitution was supposed to prevent. Obama circumvented the Constitution on more than one occasion without pushback from the Republican Party out of a fear of being labeled racist because Obama was the first black president. What a shame. Obama and the Democrats understood their power to weaponize the term racist and used it to their advantage.


It didn’t take liberal shareholder activists long to catch on and begin using guerrilla tactics to force their anti-gun agenda down our throats. These guerrilla tactics used are rooted in terror and should be considered domestic terrorism. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85). The intimidation here comes in the form of what Director of the Free Enterprise Project Justin Danhof calls “reputational risk.” Danhof’s firm offers conservatives their only full-service shareholder activism antidote.

This is another example of the deep state. It’s not gone just because Obama is gone. It must be what he meant when he said that he would “fundamentally transform” the United States. A culture was put into place that enables the federal bureaucracy led by biased career bureaucrats who overwhelmingly vote Democrat to make policy through coercion and intimidation of private businesses who are regulated by the government.

Gun control activists are aggressively going after financial service providers and are using force in the form of coercing them into not doing business with any firearms-related customer whether they sell or manufacture guns or ammo, for instance. They are using intimidation to force credit card companies, banks and other payment processing centers in furtherance of their political and social activism objectives by threatening to portray these companies in a negative light publicly like connecting them to mass shootings. CEOs and corporate boards are skittish people. Some former Obama administration officials land on these boards. Boards like to operate in anonymity with their shareholders. Their typical response when a proxy motion is made is to do whatever they have to do to make it go away, including paying a ransom in the form of buckling to the leftist social activist demand. Others have stopped doing business with firearms-related companies to appease the social activist wolves at the door. Keep in mind that none of the commerce that the firearms industry engages in is unlawful. 


The anti-gun industry is engaging in domestic terror. I just made the case. The question becomes what to do to counter this terror-like behavior. Forget about the US Department of Justice getting involved, especially since this extortion is rarely paid attention to or talked about in the news. A bill has been introduced in the US Senate. Bill S. 821 would prohibit discrimination against firearms-related industries that provide financial services. But you can forget about that bill ever getting out of committee in an election year or getting a House vote.

The financial services industry is too afraid to make a complaint to the USDOJ. Here are some suggestions from Danhof. Many of you reading this are shareholders in some of these financial services corporations. Attend shareholder meetings and ask questions in front of boards, investors, and the media like how much money will be lost in not doing business with the firearm client. Make proxy proposals that force the company to take action. This is a powerful tool our side underutilizes.

The Democratic Party continues to march toward totalitarian rule while the media provides cover. The left is very organized and well-financed in shareholder activism. It may take time to catch up with them but standing by, and whining is not an effective strategy.  We have to have the stomach to utilize their tactics as long as nobody is going to do anything about it. I am tired of always fighting uphill, aren’t you?


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