May 23, 2019

Apple’s Hypocrisy? Company’s Charitable Donations Helped Expand Presidential Powers Under Obama It Now Opposes Under Trump

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Shareholder Proposal Demands Apple Come Clean on Charitable Contributions

Apple’s Controversial Donations to Extremist Center for American Progress and Scandal-Plagued Clinton Foundation Shows Need for Transparency, Accountability

Cupertino, CA/Washington, D.C. – At today’s annual meeting of Apple shareholders in Cupertino, California, a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research is presenting a proposal seeking greater transparency from the tech giant regarding its philanthropic activities.

In particular, the proposal expresses concern about the controversial political nature of and potential results from Apple contributions and seeks a report to shareholders explaining why the company’s management believes these charitable donations match Apple’s values and goals.

“Corporate charitable contributions should enhance a company’s image and improve the communities in which it operates. While much of Apple’s charitable activities match that criteria, the company has also donated to controversial political groups that could harm shareholder value and cause unnecessary damage to the company’s reputation,” said National Center General Counsel and Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who is attending today’s Apple shareholder meeting and presenting the National Center’s proposal.

At the meeting, Danhof is presenting the proposal which, in part, states:

[m]uch of Apple’s charity work is laudable. However, the company admits that it donates to thousands of organizations. Some of these organizations may use the funds in unintended ways. Donations to controversial groups – particularly political groups – may also result in harm to Apple’s reputation.

For example, the company has donated to the Center for American Progress (CAP). CAP is an extreme political group that has been accused of anti-Semitism. Additionally, in 2010, under the direction of John Podesta – who would later become the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign – CAP wrote the blueprint for the Obama Administration’s expansion of executive power. According to the New York Times, “once Mr. Obama got the taste for it, he pursued his executive power without apology, and in ways that will shape the presidency for decades to come.” Now, with President Donald Trump in office, Apple has lodged complaints about the very same use of executive power that was effectively designed and, by implication, endorsed through its funding of CAP.

Danhof’s full statement at today’s meeting, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

The National Center’s complete proposal, and Apple’s response to it, are available on pages 54-55 of the company’s proxy statement, which is available for download here.

“It takes quite a bit of chutzpah for Apple’s executives to protest President Trump’s use of executive power when Apple funded the liberal group that reportedly helped the Obama Administration expand the scope and breadth of executive branch power more than any other recent president. Because Apple funded the Center for American Progress, its recent complaints about the Trump Administration’s use of this executive power on immigration policy fall flat,” said Danhof.

In late January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested the company might take legal action against the Trump Administration’s executive order on immigration. Then, in early February, the company joined with more than 120 other corporations in signing a motion to support the lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Minnesota and Washington State that eventually scuttled the immigration order.

“Apple CEO Tim Cook is a well-known liberal activist, and the company counts Al Gore as one of its most prominent board members. That’s all well and good, but when the company funds one of the most extreme liberal organizations in America – with deep ties to George Soros – investors ought to be concerned,” said Danhof. “The Center for American Progress and Mr. Soros share a vision for America that is detrimental to the free-market system that has allowed Apple to grow and thrive.”

At the meeting, Danhof is also addressing Apple’s donations to the Clinton Foundation. Danhof’s planned statement reads:

[Apple] also donated to the Clinton Foundation, which is reportedly under FBI investigation. Media reports strongly imply that parts of the Clinton Foundation operated as a pay-for-play scheme whereby individuals and corporations may have sought preferential treatment from government actors in exchange for donations to the Foundation. That speculation is fueled by the closing of some of the Clinton Foundation’s operations following Mrs. Clinton’s unsuccessful White House bid.

“Outside of the overt political nature of donating to a foundation run by the Clintons, shareholders have a right to question Apple’s decision to donate to a group that has a poor reputation as a charity and may now be in the FBI’s crosshairs,” added Danhof.

Even before the specter of an FBI investigation fell over the Clinton Foundation, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project was very active in exploring the connection between the Clinton Foundation and corporate America. In April 2015, National Center personnel confronted executives at Boeing and General Electric about potential conflicts of interest and the appearance of violations regarding possible honest services fraud. Both companies donated large sums to the Clinton Foundation, and both were beneficiaries of large foreign government contracts when Hillary Clinton – then serving as Secretary of State – helped secure those foreign contracts. The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project’s activism played a role in intensifying the spotlight on the Clinton Foundation as the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” extensively covered Danhof’s confrontation with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group, focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Since 2014, National Center representatives have participated in nearly 100 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. Today’s Apple meeting marks its second shareholder meeting so far in 2017.

In 2016, the Free Enterprise Project was featured in the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Drudge Report, the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the Quad City Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune among many others. The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kim Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.

 

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Lightweights Presented as “Powerful Americans”

*Editor’s Note* -Read it but don’t believe it…at least as presented. There are too many ifs to know how much, if any, that is written here is true and exactly how much isn’t told. More than likely too little is told.

Like it is some great and remarkable phenomenon that these “powerful Americans” met at Seal Island. The G8 met there during the Bush W. regime and that administration bribed the town of St. Simon’s with a community center, costing us tax payers a few, cool millions.

And, let’s not forget about the “Creature from Jekyll Island” which took place right next door to St. Simon’s and Seal Island. The meeting on Jekyll Island was the laying of plans to destroy America – to create the Federal Reserve (private corporation) System, that most people think is a government agency, as they do the Internal Revenue Service. In reality, the result of “The Creature” is the destruction of America. The goal was to make billionaires out of the ruling class, which most Americans are dumb to.

I’m not saying that Apple, Google, the media prostitutes, turncoat Paul Ryan and moron Mitch McConnell aren’t “powerful Americans.” What I am saying is, they don’t make those kinds of decisions. If, and it’s a big IF, the real powers that decide presidential campaigns, don’t want Trump in their way, then those that we are told who were at Seal Island, are following orders. Perhaps they are laying out the plans on how to “get rid of Trump.” They did this for Kennedy and Lincoln, among others.

This may be part of controlled opposition, leading us to believe that these people are meeting to get rid of Trump. If so, then what is really going on?

There is one thing for certain. Whatever you and I do, unless it’s something that hasn’t been done for 240 years, will not matter. It’s smoke and mirrors, a dog and pony show – Kabuki Theater. We are screwed, the power brokers are not…until that day when trumpets sound.

This past weekend, the new Kingmakers met off the coast of Georgia. This time the carefully selected group of powerful Americans, assembled by the American Enterprise Institute, included the CEOs of Apple and Google, media titans Arthur Sulzberger and William Kristol, and top political leaders including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The main goal of everyone present was to stop Donald Trump from obtaining the Republican presidential nomination, and the highlight of the meeting was a presentation by Karl Rove on how to achieve that objective. Their purpose is the same: to take power away from “we the people” and to be Kingmakers once again.”

<<<Read More>>>

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Human Rights; FBI Big Topics at Apple Shareholder Meeting

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Apple Inc. Asked to Adopt Human Rights Proposal

Apple Management Asked to Report to Shareholders on Its Operations in Countries With Brutal Human Rights Abuses

Apple, Inc. Urges Shareholders to Vote “No”

FBI-Apple Debate Repeatedly Mentioned

Jesse Jackson Addressed Shareholder Meeting, Saying FBI Could Use a ‘Back Door’ Into the iPhone to Spy on His Group and Black Lives Matter

 

Cupertino, CA / Washington, D.C.  – A proposal asking the management of Apple, Inc. to issue a report to shareholders on the company’s business operations in regions with systemic human rights violations was presented at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting today by the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

Speaking on behalf of the proposal, Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhofnoted that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post calling on “many more” people to fight against discrimination.

Danhof added, in part:

Our proposal takes Mr. Cook up on this. Apple operates in 17 nations where homosexuality is outlawed. In four of those countries, homosexual acts are punishable by death. Women have almost no rights in numerous countries in which Apple does business. And try getting a fair trial in many of these nations.

Let us as shareholders of Apple “join this movement,” as Mr. Cook said, and question why Apple is operating in nations when doing so requires Apple to discriminate, and to acquiesce in discrimination. Could a woman even drive a shipment of iPhones to Apple’s sales location in Saudi Arabia? Or work in the store without the permission of a male relative?

Our proposal simply asks management to prepare a report identifying Apple’s criteria for operating in regions with significant and systemic human rights violations. As Mr. Cook himself wrote, “Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”

The full text of Danhof’s remarks at the Apple meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.

Following the meeting, Danhof said:

Today, we sent a clear message to Apple’s leadership that religious bigotry has no place in the corporate boardroom. Our shareholder proposal highlighted an issue of growing importance – corporate involvement in political and legal issues. Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook, are not Constitutional scholars when it comes to religious issues. This showed when Cook penned an op-ed in the Washington Post that was rife with falsehoods regarding religious freedom restoration laws.

I was encouraged by the support of the shareholders in attendance at today’s meeting. When I pointed out that the Cook had misled folks on this important issue, and that Apple’s own operations fail to live up to Cook’s haughty prose, and asked for support for our proposal, a significant portion of the shareholders applauded.

Breaking from the norm, Cook did not address the National Center’s proposal at the meeting. At prior Apple meetings, Cook has gone out of his way to attack National Center proposals, including one regarding green energy and another trying to get to the bottom of Apple’s mysterious ability to earn approval from a green ratings agency for its laptops. Today, however, Cook’s silence was deafening. And that’s part of the goal of the National Center’s Religious Freedom Defense Initiative. We are striving to remove corporate America from debates that are better left to legislatures and the courts – bodies which are accountable to the American people – or, at the very least, to encourage corporate America to take these debates seriously, speaking about them accurately and with the goal of improving our country, not maximizing their own profits at public expense.

Cook’s op-ed represented a new type of totalitarianism that is sweeping the nation. From college campuses with their ever-growing ‘safe spaces,’ to Congress and the court system, there is a left-wing effort to remove all thought and speech that doesn’t toe the liberal line. Whether the issue is on race, sexual orientation or police activity, there has rarely been a time where freedom of expression and association were under such an extreme assault. America is a nation that has always looked out for, and given special protection to – its discreet and insular minorities. Today, that is an Indiana pizza shop just trying to sell its products and a Christian baker in Oregon that is forced to go to a reeducation camp for not wanting to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Cook took the weight of the Apple – one of the most powerful corporations in the world – and stomped on their necks.

Danhof added:

Apple’s current spat with the FBI over encryption and privacy rights came up repeatedly, if vaguely. It was the most often discussed topic other than iPhone sales, probably. Jesse Jackson was even on hand for overly-long comments complaining, in his paranoid manner, that some future conservative president could use a backdoor into the iPhone to spy on his group, and groups such as Black Lives Matter.

I agree with Apple’s legal position regarding the Fourth Amendment’s privacy guarantees, but I believe the media are missing another important Constitutional issue – the First Amendment’s speech protections. The government cannot coerce or compel an individual to sign a petition or support a referendum or political candidate. In the same way, it should not be permitted to compel Apple to write a code that would cause the company and its employees to contravene their deeply-held views on privacy rights.

Apple asked shareholders to vote against the National Center’s proposal, saying “the requested report is unnecessary and would not provide meaningful information to shareholders.”

The full text of the National Center’s shareholder proposal can be found here on page 62; Apple’s statement of opposition is on page 63.

More information about the National Center’s proposal is available here and here.

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Apple Shareholders to Vote on Anti-Discrimination Proposal

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Cupertino, CA / Washington, D.C.  – At today’s Apple shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California, shareholders will vote on a resolution submitted by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a shareholder, requiring Apple’s management to prepare a report identifying Apple’s criteria for operating in regions with significant human rights violations.

Apple operates in 17 nations in which homosexual activity is illegal. In four of those, it is punishable by death. Women have almost no rights in numerous countries in which Apple does business. A female could not even drive a shipment of iPhones to Apple’s sales location in Saudi Arabia, or work there without a male’s permission.

Apple CEO Tim Cook emerged as a civil rights activist in the spring of 2015, writing an op-ed in the Washington Post, saying he did so, on Apple’s behalf, in “the hopes that many more will join this movement” against discrimination.

“At Apple,” Cook added, “we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. “

The National Center for Public Policy Research proposal takes Mr. Cook seriously by asking Apple’s management to issue a report to shareholders on the company’s business operations in regions with systemic human rights violations.

As Mr. Cook himself wrote, “Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”

The National Center for Public Policy Research asks all Apple shareholders to vote for proposal #7.

For more information about this shareholder proposal, including Apple’s efforts to fight it before for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, please read our February 23 press release.

To read the full text of the National Center’s shareholder proposal, download Apple’s proxy statement here and go to page 62. Apple’s statement of opposition to our anti-discrimination proposal, which concludes, “the requested report is unnecessary and would not provide meaningful information to shareholders,” can be found on page 63.

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John Deere and Apple Investors to Vote on Liberty Proposals

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:
Pro-Liberty Resolutions to Be Presented to John Deere and Apple Investors This Week

National Center for Public Policy Research Asks John Deere Investors to Support Its Call for Increased Transparency Surrounding the Company’s Anti-Free Market Policy Activities

National Center’s Proposal to Apple’s Shareholders Highlights Dangers of Corporate America’s Fight Against Religious Freedom

 

Moline, IL / Cupertino, CA / Washington, D.C.  – At tomorrow’s annual meeting of John Deere shareholders in Moline, Illinois, and Friday’s annual meeting of Apple shareholders in Cupertino, California, The National Center for Public Policy Research will present two different shareholder proposals aimed at advancing corporate transparency and religious liberty.

“For far too many years, corporate America has been lending its voice, money and power to liberal politicians, causes and organizations. From ObamaCare, to gay marriage to federal energy policy, the past seven years of the Obama Administration has coincided with an expansive growth of corporate statism and corporate liberalism,” said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. “While the exponential growth of cronyism has coincided with President Obama’s time in office, it isn’t coincidental. The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project will bring the fight for liberty to corporate America in earnest this year. The battle starts this week.”

On Wednesday, Danhof will present the National Center’s shareholder proposal to John Deere’s investors at the company’s annual meeting in Moline, Illinois. The proposal, titled “Political Spending Congruency Analysis,” asks the company to report to shareholders when Deere decides to fund or work with anti-capitalist groups or politicians.

“Deere has often taken actions that run counter to its duties as a for-profit, publicly-held company,” said Danhof. “For example, when liberal politicians in Washington, D.C. needed corporate support for their repeated attempts to shackle the economy with cap-and-trade schemes on carbon emissions, John Deere happily obliged. However, after the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project ran advertisements highlighting the economic pitfalls of a federal cap-and-trade program, Deere withdrew from the corporate lobbying coalition supporting such a plan.”

The National Center’s proposal also criticizes John Deere for kowtowing to radical liberal groups and withdrawing from the American Legislative Exchange Council, noting that:

[D]espite the fact that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works to foster a low-regulation business-friendly environment, the Company publicly ended its affiliation with ALEC in 2012 at a time when anti-free-market activists were perpetuating falsehoods about ALEC and its activities.

“Deere’s leaders are free to continue supporting anti-capitalist politicians and causes,” said Danhof. “We just think that they should tell the company’s investors when they do so. That way, the investing public can make an informed decision. That’s why we urge all John Deere shareholders to support our proposal.”

 The National Center’s complete shareholder resolution, and John Deere’s response to it, can be found on pages 67 and 68 of the company’s proxy statement – which is available for download here.

John Deere’s lawyers attempted to remove the National Center’s proposal from its proxy statement; however, the National Center’s legal team prevailed in its arguments before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and won the right to place the proposal before the company’s shareholders for a vote.

The entire legal exchange between John Deere and the National Center, along with the SEC’s decision, can be downloaded here.

At Friday’s annual meeting of Apple shareholders, scheduled to take place at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, Danhof will present a stockholder proposal as part of the National Center’s Religious Freedom Defense Initiative.

The National Center’s Religious Freedom Defense Initiative is working to correct the record about religious freedom laws. The National Center’s proposal to Apple highlights the company’s hypocrisy on the issue of religious freedom and points out the adverse effects on shareholder value that can occur when corporate leaders speak out on issues which they have no expertise.

Last spring, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined with many corporate executives and much of the liberal media in attacking Americans of faith. Writing in the Washington Post, Cook falsely claimed that attempts to enact religious freedom laws in Arkansas and Indiana “would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors.”

“Cook is simply wrong on the law,” notes Danhof. “The federal government and 31 states have heightened religious freedom laws and none of them legalize discrimination against anyone. What Mr. Cook did was taint Apple’s brand with extreme anti-religious bigotry. American society was set up to protect discreet and insular minorities. Today, that has become an Indiana pizza shop and small cake bakers who simply want to practice their religion and not be forced by the government to break their covenants with their Creator. Cook has joined with the mob in trying to destroy them.”

Despite Cook’s outlandish attacks on religious liberty here in the homeland, Apple actually does business in many countries where homosexuality is outlawed and homosexuals are imprisoned and even killed. The National Center proposal drives this hypocrisy home, stating:

CEO [Cook] bashed state-level religious freedom laws as anti-homosexual bigotry saying, “Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.” Yet, according to the Washington Post, Apple has a presence in 17 countries where homosexual acts are illegal. In four of those nations, homosexual acts are punishable by death. These company operations are inconsistent with Apple’s values as extolled by our CEO.

The proponent believes that Apple’s record to date demonstrates a gap between its lofty rhetoric / aspirations and its performance.

The National Center’s complete shareholder resolution, and Apple’s response to it, can be found on pages 62 and 63 of the company’s proxy statement – which is available for download here.

Apple’s lawyers also petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking to block the National Center’s proposal. However, the National Center’s legal team prevailed in convincing the SEC that its proposal was so significant that the company’s shareholders should have a say on the matter.

The entire legal exchange between Apple and the National Center, along with the SEC’s decision, can be downloaded here.

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. In 2014-15, National Center representatives participated in 69 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and many other important public policy issues. This week’s John Deere and Apple meetings mark its first and second shareholder meetings of 2016.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.

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Tim Cook has Another “Tim Cook Moment”; Denigrates Capitalism at Apple Shareholder Meeting

Press Release from National Center for Public Policy Research:

Comments Come After Free-Market Group Proposes Transparency Resolution Aimed at Determining Why Apple is Invested in Alternative Energy and the Risks to Shareholders and Taxpayers

Cook Attacks Profitmaking by For-Profit Companies for Second Year in a Row: Is Cook Ashamed of Profit?

Cupertino, CA/Washington, DC – At today’s annual meeting of Apple investors in Cupertino, California, where the National Center for Public Policy Research introduced a shareholder resolution asking the tech giant for more transparency about the risks associated with its alternative energy investments, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to have a message for shareholders who expect for-profit businesses to have profits: You aren’t Apple’s kind of people.

Cook twice made specific comments denigrating “return on investment,” or ROI, essentially doubling-down on a statement he made to the National Center last year, when Cook told the National Center and other shareholders interested in return on investment to get out of Apple stock.

“I was extremely surprised to hear Tim Cook denigrate the role of profit making in business,” said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who attended the meeting on behalf of the National Center and presented the National Center’s shareholder proposal. “Businesses make profits by offering goods and services that make people’s lives better. People buy them for that reason. There is no shame in earning profit. Mr. Cook seems to think there is.”

“Our proposal highlighted potential risks that Apple’s investors may face. Apple has invested hundreds of millions in alternative energy programs. These programs presently often enjoy significant taxpayer backing, but there is no guarantee that taxpayer subsidies will be permanent. We believe the board of directors should be forthright with shareholders about the extent of Apple’s exposure to risk, should the popularity of causes like global warming wane, and voters and politicians lose interest in subsidizing green energy.”

As prepared for delivery, Danhof introduced the National Center’s proposal stating:

[I]f Apple were to receive no more government handouts for its renewable energy projects, would CEO Tim Cook still put your money where his mouth is and spend hundreds of millions of dollars on alternative energy endeavors?

Rhetoric aside, it seems very unlikely that Apple would abandon its fiduciary duties to its shareholders and engage in such reckless activity. But we don’t know for sure because Apple’s board opposes our proposal. Some of you may recall that Mr. Cook stood on this stage last year and claimed that Apple doesn’t care about “bloody return on investment.” Then why is Apple a publicly traded, for-profit company?

A few facts are clear. Apple is heavily investing in renewable energy projects. Renewable energy projects are heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. These subsidies are not permanent and are anti-competitive. We have legitimate concerns that potential changes in government policies on alternative energy may harm Apple’s investors.

The National Center’s complete shareholder resolution, and Apple’s response to it, can be found on pages 62 and 63 of the company’s proxy statement, which is available for download here.

At last year’s Apple shareholder meeting, Cook famously responded to a question from the National Center’s Danhof about alternative energy by essentially stating that those investors who care about “bloody ROI” should divest their Apple stock. This event has even entered the business lexicon, and is known as a “Tim Cook Moment.”

Danhof introduced today’s proposal in the formal part of the shareholder meeting, which was conducted by Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell. Cook’s pointed remarks came, unprovoked, later while Cook was discussing new products and initiatives.

“When Cook introduced Apple’s ResearchKit, Tim Cook had another ‘Tim Cook Moment.’ He played to his progressive followers and said, for those of you looking for ROI, there isn’t one. To this, the liberal lemmings in the room cheered,” said Danhof. “Apparently not satisfied that this was a sufficiently strong and clear statement that he opposes businesses developing and producing products for the purpose of attracting buyers and thus profits, Cook followed up by stating that he wanted to be very clear, Apple didn’t do this for ROI. That just isn’t the lens Apple uses.”

“Last year we called into question Apple’s sincerity concerning alternative energy, and clearly Cook hasn’t gotten over that. But earnest questions remain unanswered,” said Danhof. “Are Apple’s alternative energy investments in Apple’s best financial interest? Cook seems to imply they are not, and if they are not, shareholders deserve to know the amount of risk they are undertaking. But many of these green investments benefit from taxpayer subsidies. Do these subsidies make a difference in making alternative energy attractive to big companies such as Apple? Both shareholders and taxpayers deserve to know the answer to that one. All we seek is transparency, which Mr. Cook opposes. Angrily opposes, apparently.”

“Is Apple investing in green energy because it believes green energy is more important than profit, or is it investing in renewable energy to ‘greenwash’ its image and appease progressive environmentalists? We don’t know the answer but we’d like to.”

“And regardless of whether Apple’s actions are a reflection of its sincere preference for green energy or are a clever way to promote a green image for itself, or even a combination of both, just how much money are American taxpayers providing to subsidize green energy for one of the richest companies in the world? If Apple was a country it would be the 55th wealthiest nation in the world.”

“We are surprised that Tim Cook allowed his anger to show today. It seems an unwise tactic that simply draws attention to the subsidies Apple is getting. But maybe Cook is so liberal, he thinks the public likes subsidizing large corporations.”

Earlier today, the National Center issued a press release highlighting its call for Apple to increase transparency. It can be found here.

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market corporate activist group. In 2014, Free Enterprise Project representatives participated in 52 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers rights and many other important public policy issues.

Today’s Apple meeting marks the fourth shareholder meeting attended by National Center representatives in 2015.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Sign up for free issue alerts here and go here to make a tax-deductible contribution to help us fight for liberty.

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Apple Fights Transparency Over Green Energy

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Transparency Urged for Apple at Shareholder Meeting Today

National Center for Public Policy Research Pushes Proposal Requiring Apple Board to Reveal Possibly Risky Investments in Renewable Energy

Investments Are Risky Because They Are Subsidized by Tax Dollars

As Popularity of Causes Such As Global Warming Wane, Voters May Reduce Support for “Green” Energy Subsidies, Harming Apple

In Verbal Joust Last Year, Apple CEO Tim Cook Told National Center He Doesn’t Care About “Bloody Return on Investment”

So Will Apple “Go Green” Even if the Taxpayers Don’t?

If Apple Does, What Are the Costs to Shareholders?

If It Doesn’t, Was Tim Cook’s ‘Bloody ROI’ Boast Merely PR and Greenwashing?

Apple Went to Securities and Exchange Commission to Block National Center Proposal From Appearing on Proxy Statement, But Lost

So Apple Shareholders Will Vote on Transparency Proposal Today

Cupertino, CA/Washington, DC – The National Center for Public Policy Research is urging the tech giant Apple’s investors to vote in favor of the National Center’s shareholder proposal today at the Company’s annual shareholder meeting.

The proposal calls on Apple’s board to increase transparency regarding risks posed, if any, by the company’s extensive alternative energy projects.

Apple fought the National Center at the Securities and Exchange Commission to get the proposal blocked, but the SEC sided with the National Center.

“Apple has undertaken expensive alternative energy investments,” said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq., “and alternative energy investments can be risky. As our proposal notes, federal, state and/or local policies subsidizing such investments, and upon which company business plans rely, can be repealed or altered. The shareholders deserve to know how much of Apple’s business plan relies on these taxpayer subsidies, and how much shareholders would be hurt if government policies were to change.”

The National Center’s shareholder proposal, says, in part:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has recognized that climate change regulations, policy and legislation pose a business risk to companies. One risk is that federal, state and/or local government policies, adopted in whole or in part due to climate change concerns, that subsidize renewable energy and upon which company business plans rely may be repealed or altered.

These changes in policy may be significant, and may come with little advance notice to the company.

Shareholders request that the Board of Directors authorize the preparation of a report… disclosing the risk to the company posed by possible changes in federal, state or local government policies in the United States relating to climate change and/or renewable energy.

The National Center’s complete shareholder resolution, and Apple’s response to it, can be found on pages 62 and 63 of the company’s proxy statement, which is available for download here.

“If Apple’s ‘green’ projects are a truly sound investment, or if it genuinely does not care about what Tim Cook calls the ‘bloody ROI,’ it won’t matter to Apple whether the government heavily subsidizes alternative energy. Alternatively, if Apple is relying heavily on preferential government policies to make its green investments financially sound, investors have a right to know,” said Danhof. “So do taxpayers.”

At last year’s Apple meeting, Cook became angry when Danhof asked about the company’s green investments. As the National Center explained in a press release following last year’s meeting:

Danhof also asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the company’s green energy pursuits. Danhof asked whether the company’s environmental investments increased or decreased the company’s bottom line. After initially suggesting that the investments make economic sense, Cook said the company would pursue environmental goals even if there was no economic point at all to the venture. Danhof further asked if the company’s projects would continue to make sense if the federal government stopped heavily subsidizing alternative energy. Cook completely ignored the inquiry and became visibly agitated.

Cook suggested that if investors care only about return on investment, they should divest their shares in Apple. Cook’s outburst was covered in nearly 8,000 media stories, was the subject of at least one graduate school business course and become part of the business press lexicon.

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to an analyst’s question about why investors should care about the social media giant’s efforts to connect African countries by shooting back that “[i]t matters what kind of investors we have.” CNN Money and other business publications dubbed Zuckerberg’s reaction to be his “Tim Cook moment.”

“Last year, my question about whether Apple’s alternative energy investments served a legitimate business purpose put Tim Cook on a fence. He could continue Apple’s public relations mantra that Apple is all about saving the environment, or he could have said at least some of Apple’s alternative energy efforts are greenwashing on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Danhof. “It is clear why Cook choose to double down on Apple’s public relations campaign. Apple has done a marvelous job of claiming to be a socially conscious company that cares for people and the environment.”

“If Tim Cook was being honest when he said Apple doesn’t operate its business with any concern for ‘bloody’ return on investment, then he should happily say that Apple will invest in alternative energy at all costs. He should say that, even if federal and local governments remove all perks and tax breaks for renewable energy projects, Apple will continue to spend its investors’ money on risky solar and geothermal schemes,” said Danhof. “Until Cook does that, his episodic meltdown last year was nothing more than theater.”

In a break from its tradition of generally accepting all properly-presented shareholder proposals for inclusion in its proxy statement, Apple’s legal team repeatedly petitioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this year for the right to omit the National Center’s proposal from its proxy materials altogether. Through multiple rounds of legal back-and-forth, the National Center won the right to have Apple’s shareholders vote on its proposal. To view the full legal exchanges between the National Center and Apple, click here.

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market corporate activist group. In 2014, Free Enterprise Project representatives participated in 52 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers rights and many other important public policy issues.

Tomorrow’s Apple meeting will mark the fourth shareholder meeting attended by National Center representatives in 2015.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

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Tim Cook to Apple Investors: Drop Dead

Apple CEO Tim Cook tells Investors Who Care More About Return on Investment than Climate Change: Your Money is No Longer Welcome

As Board Member Al Gore Cheers the Tech Giant’s Dedication to Environmental Activism, Investors Left to Wonder Just How Much Shareholder Value is Being Destroyed in Efforts to Combat “Climate Change”

Free-Market Activist Presents Shareholder Resolution to Computer Giant Apple Calling for Transparency on Environmental Issues; Company Balks

Cupertino, CA / Washington DC – At today’s annual meeting of Apple shareholders in Cupertino, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook informed investors that are primarily concerned with making reasonable economic returns that their money is no longer welcome.

The message came in response to the National Center for Public Policy Research’s shareholder resolution asking the tech giant to be transparent about its environmental activism and a question from the National Center about the company’s environmental initiatives.

“Mr. Cook made it very clear to me that if I, or any other investor, was more concerned with return on investment than reducing carbon dioxide emissions, my investment is no longer welcome at Apple,” said Justin Danhof, Esq., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.

Danhof also asked Apple CEO Tim Cook about the company’s green energy pursuits. Danhof asked whether the company’s environmental investments increased or decreased the company’s bottom line. After initially suggesting that the investments make economic sense, Cook said the company would pursue environmental goals even if there was no economic point at all to the venture. Danhof further asked if the company’s projects would continue to make sense if the federal government stopped heavily subsidizing alternative energy. Cook completely ignored the inquiry and became visibly agitated.

Danhof went on to ask if Cook was willing to amend Apple’s corporate documents to indicate that the company would not pursue environmental initiatives that have some sort of reasonable return on investment – similar to the concession the National Center recently received from General Electric. This question was greeted by boos and hisses from the Al gore contingency in the room.

“Here’s the bottom line: Apple is as obsessed with the theory of so-called climate change as its board member Al Gore is,” said Danhof. “The company’s CEO fervently wants investors who care more about return on investments than reducing CO2 emissions to no longer invest in Apple. Maybe they should take him up on that advice.”

“Although the National Center’s proposal did not receive the required votes to pass, millions of Apple shareholders now know that the company is involved with organizations that don’t appear to have the best interest of Apple’s investors in mind,” said Danhof. “Too often investors look at short-term returns and are unaware of corporate policy decisions that may affect long-term financial prospects. After today’s meeting, investors can be certain that Apple is wasting untold amounts of shareholder money to combat so-called climate change. The only remaining question is: how much?”

The National Center’s shareholder resolution noted that “[s]ome trade associations and business organizations have expanded beyond the promotion of traditional business goals and are lobbying business executives to pursue objectives with primarily social benefits. This may affect Company profitability and shareholder value. The Company’s involvement and acquiescence in these endeavors lacks transparency, and publicly-available information about the Company’s trade association memberships and related activities is minimal. An annual report to shareholders will help protect shareholder value.”

Apple’s full 2014 proxy statement is available here. The National Center’s proposal, “Report on Company Membership and Involvement with Certain Trade Associations and Business Organizations,” appears on page 60.

The National Center filed the resolution, in part, because of Apple’s membership in the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), one of the country’s largest trade associations. In its 2013 “Retail Sustainability Report,” RILA states: “Companies will often develop individual or industry voluntary programs to reduce the need for government regulations. If a retail company minimizes its waste generation, energy and fuel usage, land-use footprint, and other environmental impacts, and strives to improve the labor conditions of the workers across its product supply chains, it will have a competitive advantage when regulations are developed.”

“This shows that rather than fighting increased government regulation, RILA is cooperating with Washington, D.C.’s stranglehold on American business in a misguided effort to stop so-called climate change,” said Danhof. “That is not an appropriate role for a trade association.”

For even more information on RILA, read “The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA): A Cartel that Threatens Innovation and Competitiveness,” by National Center Senior Fellow Dr. Bonner Cohen.

Rather than opting for transparency, Apple opposed the National Center’s resolution,” noted Danhof. “Apple’s actions, from hiring of President Obama’s former head of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson, to its investments in supposedly 100 percent renewable data centers, to Cook’s antics at today’s meeting, appear to be geared more towards combating so-called climate change rather than developing new and innovative phones and computers.”

After Danhof presented the proposal, a representative of CalPERS rose to object and stated that climate change should be one of corporate America’s primary concerns, and after she called carbon dioxide emissions a “mortal danger,” Apple board member and former vice president Al Gore turned around and loudly clapped and cheered.

“If Apple wants to follow Al Gore and his chimera of climate change, it does so at its own peril,” said Danhof. “Sustainability and the free market can work in concert, but not if Al Gore is directing corporate behavior.”

“Tim Cook, like every other American, is entitled to his own political views and to be an activist of any legal sort he likes on his own time,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “And if Tim Cook, private citizen, does not care that over 95 percent of all climate models have over-forecast the extent of predicted global warming, and wishes to use those faulty models to lobby for government policies that raise prices, kill jobs and retard economic growth and extended lifespans in the Third World, he has a right to lobby as he likes. But as the CEO of a publicly-held corporation, Tim Cook has a responsibility to, consistent with the law, to make money for his investors. If he’d rather be CEO of the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, he should apply.”

“As in the past, Cook took but a handful of questions from the many shareholders present who were eager to ask a question at the one meeting a year in which shareholder questions are taken,” added Ridenour, “leaving many disappointed. Environmentalism may be a byword at Apple, but transparency surely is not.”

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is a leading free-market corporate activist group. In 2013, Free Enterprise Project representatives attended 33 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, media bias, gun rights and many more important public policy issues. Today’s Apple meeting was the National Center’s third attendance at a shareholder meeting so far in 2014.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is an Apple shareholder, as are National Center executives.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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Apple Pursuing Multiple Environmental Initiatives: Investors Have a Right to Know How “Green” Programs Affect Company’s Bottom Line

Free-Market Activists Promote Shareholder Resolution to Force Apple to be Transparent on Sustainability Relationships

Questions About Apple’s Membership in Controversial Trade Association Advancing Environmentalism Concerns Ahead of Best Business Practices Remain Unanswered

Cupertino, CA / Washington DC – The National Center for Public Policy Research is urging Apple shareholders to approve the National Center’s shareholder resolution (Proposal #9 in Apple’s proxy statement) that requests the consumer electronics company disclose its relationship with, and payments to, trade associations and business organizations promoting the amorphous concept of environmental sustainability ahead of shareholder value and fiduciary responsibilities.

“Apple’s shareholders are currently in the dark about the company’s dealings with certain trade associations that have placed a dedication to pie-in-the sky sustainability goals ahead of the best interests of the company’s stakeholders,” said Justin Danhof, Esq., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project. “That is why we urge all company shareholders to approve the National Center’s shareholder resolution, thereby bringing Apple’s relationships and sustainability programs to light.”

The annual meeting of Apple shareholders will be held this Friday (February 28) in Cupertino, California at the company’s executive offices.

Apple’s full 2014 proxy statement is available here. The National Center’s proposal, “Report on Company Membership and Involvement with Certain Trade Associations and Business Organizations,” appears on page 60.

The National Center submitted the shareholder proposal, in part, because Apple is a member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), one of the country’s largest trade organizations. RILA is calling on its member companies to undertake expensive capital expenditures, restrict the use of the property they own and lobby local governments for more restrictive, mandatory building codes that would apply to all businesses, not just RILA members.

In his seminal expose detailing RILA’s primary agenda titled, “The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA): A Cartel that Threatens Innovation and Competitiveness,” National Center Senior Fellow Dr. Bonner Cohen explained that:

While RILA remains vague about what is meant by the “root causes of deeply embedded social and environmental challenges,” scratch beneath the surface of the high-minded sounding phrases, and the organization’s political agenda is revealed. The elevation of greenhouse-gas emissions to a place of prominence, for example, puts RILA squarely on the side of alarmists who, in the absence of any compelling data, blame human activities, i.e., the burning of fossil fuels, for climate change… While the standards and practices dictated by ‘sustainable’ trade associations do not have the force of law behind them, their effect on businesses and consumers can be as far-reaching as the most sweeping edicts from Washington regulators.

The National Center’s shareholder proposal asks Apple to disclose its membership in, and payments to, organizations such as RILA. The proposal explains that: “Some trade associations and business organizations have expanded beyond the promotion of traditional business goals and are lobbying business executives to pursue objectives with primarily social benefits. This may affect Company profitability and shareholder value. The Company’s involvement and acquiescence in these endeavors lacks transparency, and publicly-available information about the Company’s trade association memberships and related activities is minimal. An annual report to shareholders will help protect shareholder value.”

“Considering Apple’s membership in RILA with its 2013 hiring of President Obama’s former head of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson and, shareholders have every reason to question whether the company’s leadership team is more invested in creating the best and newest technological breakthrough or combating so-called climate change,” added Danhof. “The fact that Apple is opposing the National Center’s proposal speaks to the latter.”

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is one of the leading free-market corporate activists groups in America. In 2013, Free Enterprise Project representatives attended 33 shareholder meetings advancing free-market ideals in the areas of health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, media bias, gun rights and many more important public policy issues. Friday’s Apple meeting will be the National Center’s third attendance at a shareholder meeting so far in 2014.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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Apple’s Climate Change Policy Benefits Gore’s Personal Investments and Not Shareholders, says National Center for Public Policy Research

Apple Board Member Al Gore Faces Conflict of Interest Shareholder Proposal

Washington, D.C. – Today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are attending Apple’s annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, CA to challenge board member Al Gore over an apparent conflict of interest between his personal investments in clean energy technology and the company’s climate change policy.

Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project will present a Conflict of Interest Report shareholder proposal (#4 in the proxy statement) submitted by the National Center, asking Apple to investigate if board member Al Gore violated the company’s Business Conduct Policy by encouraging the company to end its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as part of an effort to pressure the trade group to stop opposing greenhouse gas regulations.

Gore’s significant personal investments in renewable energy and related technologies would have benefited from greenhouse gas regulations. In contrast, Apple does not have a business interest in emissions regulations.

“Shareholders have a right to know if Gore used his board position to end Apple’s membership in the Chamber as a means to cash-in on his personal investments in clean energy technologies. The dirty little secret in clean energy is you need government action to make money on your investment,” said Tom Borelli.

“Gore had the financial incentive and access as a board member, the only question remains was he the catalyst that drove Apple’s policy decision. Board members should represent shareholders interests, not their personal interests” added Tom Borelli.

Several companies, including Apple, ended their relationship with the Chamber in 2009 over the trade group’s aggressive opposition to the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill and EPA regulation of carbon emissions. However, unlike utilities Exelon and PG&E, who also ended their membership in the Chamber, Apple will not profit from emissions regulations.

“Beyond holding board members accountable to following Apple’s Business Conduct Policy, shareholders should be concerned about the long-term consequences of ending the company’s membership in the Chamber. The trade group actively promotes intellectual property protection, an issue that represents a core business risk for Apple,” said Deneen Borelli, fellow of the National Center–sponsored African-American leadership group, Project 21.

Currently, Apple is engaged in a trademark dispute with China over its iPad.

“Trademark protection and piracy are business risks to Apple and not climate change regulations. Addressing intellectual property matters through a trade association is an efficient way to address these issues in the international area,” added Deneen Borelli.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is an Apple shareholder.

The Apple shareholder meeting is being held today, February 23 at 10:00 am Pacific Time at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

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