Main Street Investors Coalition: Comes Sort of Clean and Also Does Not

Those rascals at the fake dark money front group Main Street Investors Coalition are at it again. Just to recap, this is the CEO-funded organization that has no relationship whatsoever to Main Street or investors and the only coalition it represents is the National Association of Manufacturers members and other corporations who provide its funding. No investor advocates have endorsed them or their recommendations, which mostly relate to suppression of proxy voting by sophisticated fiduciary investors and limiting access to independent research from proxy advisory firms.

There’s more. MSIC touts a recent opinion column in the Dallas News which mentions them by name but does not reveal that the author works for an organization with the same corporate funders. This is one sock puppet endorsing another, and it is disgraceful that the newspaper would run such a column without insisting on disclosure. MSIC is always complaining about proxy advisor conflicts of interest but is very quiet about its own.

And in a rare moment of honesty, MSIC has tweeted “Ahead of the upcoming SEC roundtable on the proxy process, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and the Commissioners should turn their attention to issues the Society for Corporate Governance has raised surrounding proxy advisory firms.” Thank goodness they have (briefly) come clean, because the group they are endorsing here is not made up of investors, retail, Main Street, or otherwise, but of corporate insiders. While MSIC Advisory Council chair Bernard Sharfman may “believe” and “assume” MSIC is promoting the interests of investors, this statement proves the contrary. We hope that the SEC, which calls itself “the investor’s advocate” will keep this in mind as they consider the policies endorsed by MSIC.

We do agree with MSIC that economic interest is the best qualification for voting proxies. The economic interest of MSIC and its CEO backers is to prevent oversight on issues like excessive CEO compensation. Their support for the corporate insiders rather than the Main Street investors they claim to advocate for shows once again that they are a cynical, astroturf front wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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