The Growing Perils of Corporate Political Involvement

Corporations are having a tough time navigating the pressure from all sides on political statements, including campaign contributions, as it is increasingly difficult to avoid offending a substantial number of customers, employees, or investors.

Judd Legum continues to track corporate promises — and broken promises — about political contributions. And a number of other articles and commentary are adding to the increasing pressure and complexity around corporate political statements. Former President Donald Trump has called for a boycott of Coca-Cola and other companies responding to the voter suppression legislation in Georgia. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got so fed up he told corporate leaders to stay out of politics, but hastened to add that did not include contributions to politicians.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Big consumer brands like Coca-Cola Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc. for years have positioned themselves as forces for promoting what they see as social good—an approach they displayed last summer after the death of George Floyd. Coca-Cola turned off its Times Square billboard for a day. Delta flew Mr. Floyd’s body to his family in Houston.

The Atlanta-based companies were among the scores of big corporations around the country that pledged an array of money and initiatives toward racial justice amid the upheaval that Mr. Floyd’s death while in police custody unleashed. Now, business leaders are facing new pressures from progressive activists to prove that those commitments were more than just talk. As activists press companies to condemn new voting legislation, CEOs are again finding themselves walking a difficult line on emotional, political issues, risking blowback from all sides.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I’m expecting to see lawsuits in this area where the company says something but doesn’t actually follow through, resulting in a boycott or other reputational damage impact impacting share price. That may be even more likely with regard to environmental issues.

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