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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has taken a decisive stand against the pernicious encroachment of “woke” politics into America’s top corporations by introducing a bill to “enable shareholders to hold woke corporations accountable.”
Dubbed the “Mind Your Own Business Act,” the bill released Thursday would empower shareholders with the power to successfully sue a corporation if the corporation is behaving in “woke” ways that undermine its “fiduciary duty” to the shareholders.
The key word there is “successfully.”
In an op-ed for Fox Business Network, the senator explained that though “a shareholder [currently] has the right to sue corporate officers when they take actions like these that are motivated by their politics rather than your financial interests,” these lawsuits are rarely successful.
“[C]orporations have stacked the deck to make these lawsuits hopeless. They tweak provisions in their bylaws to protect themselves as they leave America behind,” he wrote.
The “Mind Your Own Business Act” would rectify this shortcoming by placing “the burden of proof on the company to show that these actions were in shareholders’ best interests, and make corporate officers personally liable if they can’t prove it.”
BREAKING: Senator @MarcoRubio introduces legislation to allow shareholders to sue corporations for prioritizing political ideology—such as “socialism, Marxism, [and] critical race theory”—over their fiduciary duty to maximize long-term shareholder value.
The fight has begun. pic.twitter.com/R9Ta9QpndB
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 24, 2021
And so, if shareholders of a “woke” corporation like Procter & Gamble were to successfully sue over the massive losses suffered by Gillette amid its “toxic masculinity” campaign in 2019, the company’s “woke” CEO, president, etc., would be financially liable.
As to what constitutes “woke” behavior, Rubio cited a number of recent examples, including the Gillette one.
“Remember when Nike pulled a shoe from the market because it had an American flag? Or when Coca Cola threw a tantrum over Georgia’s voting integrity law? Or how about when Gillette’s ‘toxic masculinity’ advertising campaign caused its parent company to lose billions of dollars in revenue?” he wrote.
But is all this really necessary? Yes, the senator maintained during an interview Thursday on Fox Business Networks’ “Mornings with Morning.”
“If a company is going to boycott a state, if a company is going to pull a product off the market because it has an American flag on it and that might offend some people, if a company is going to make these decisions under pressure from either the ‘woke’ culture or some employee uprising internally that’s pushing them in this direction, then they should have to justify to their large shareholders why they’ve done it and why that’s in the best interest of the company,” he argued.
“And if they’re sued on those ground, they should have a higher standard of proof, a higher burden to prove that this is a decision that we have made as a corporation because it’s in the best interest of our business model [and] we’re actually acting in the interest of our shareholders, not just kowtowing to pressure from China or pressure from the ‘woke’ and ‘cancel culture’ in America,” he added.
(Video: Fox Business)
The premise of his legislation is that corporations exist to serve the interests of shareholders, not the interests of disgruntled politicians, activists, and employees.
This is a particularly relevant premise given the “go woke, go broke” phenomenon of corporations suffering financially after bending their knee to the “woke” mob. It’s also relevant because so many corporations have indeed bent the knee.
But the real beauty of Rubio’s legislation, according to both the senator and his supporters, is that it isn’t a form of government overreach. It’s, instead, free-market capitalism at its very finest.
“[W]e are not expanding the government to regulate the behavior of corporations. Instead, we are simply empowering shareholders—the people who have the real skin in the game for how these companies are run—who are sick and tired of the woke, Marxist mob hijacking every area of our lives,” Rubio explained in his op-ed.
I think it’s a smart approach because it will bring along the free-market conservatives: it’s about maximizing shareholder value and return to investors, which is the essence of capitalism. I imagine a lot of the Reagan-style conservatives would support it.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 24, 2021
However, critics have pushed back by arguing that shareholders “already have the power to place CEOs and board members with votes,” so why would this make a difference?
One possible answer might be that it takes a majority of board members to remove top corporate officers. With Rubio’s legislation, it’d presumably take just one non-“woke” shareholder filing a lawsuit for a difference to be made.
Short sighted political posturing. Shareholders already have the power to replace CEOs and board members with votes if they don’t agree with what the company is doing.
— Tower (@Tower122) September 25, 2021
Logical yet brilliant. About time someone reminds corporations about their fiduciary duties
— Lucy (@LucyKats2) September 24, 2021
Another criticism is that the legislation’s going nowhere under a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House.
This is true, but with President Joe Biden’s poll numbers tanking, and the American people growing increasingly fed-up with the Democrats’ radicalism, it may not necessarily be that long til Rubio has the chance to turn his legislation into real law.
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