June 24, 2018

Johnson & Johnson Executives Not Remorseful Over ObamaCare Role

Press Release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

With Affordable Care Act Collapsing, Pharmaceutical Giant That Promoted It Now Claims It is “Neither a Red Nor Blue” Company

Free Enterprise Project Continues Campaign to Push Corporate Support for Obamacare Replacement

New Brunswick, NJ / Washington, DC –  Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky expressed zero remorse for the company’s integral role in creating ObamaCare, but did vow to work with the Trump Administration and congressional leaders on future health care initiatives. He made this statement today at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey in response to a question from a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) – the nation’s leading proponent of free-market investor activism.

“For the millions of Americans who are suffering under the high costs and burdensome regulations of ObamaCare, Gorsky’s response was less than satisfying,” said National Center General Counsel and FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who attended today’s Johnson & Johnson shareholder meeting and questioned Gorsky. “While we are glad Johnson & Johnson will play a role in working with President Trump on a new path away from ObamaCare, the company still owes a sincere apology to the millions of Americans who suffered harm under ObamaCare. Companies that foisted ObamaCare on the American people have a moral obligation to repair the damage that law has caused to millions. It’s that simple.”

At the meeting, Danhof noted:

Instead of supporting the new plan, you stated : “Whether you take the new plan, [or] the old plan, we are going to have to make changes. The challenges are that we still have a lot of other issues to take care of [and] how we are going to make sure that we continue to make some of the important improvements to healthcare from a quality, from an affordability and from a sustainability point of view.”

While no plan is perfect, this is far from the full-throated support the company once gave to ObamaCare. In contrast to your comments, after meeting with President Trump, Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks said that they “talked about a number of his policy proposals which, on balance, I think would be very good for us. Looking at regulatory reform at the FDA, the changes that are being contemplated on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and taxation. . . All those things were good.”

As the current political climate offers a unique opportunity for both private industry and health care consumers, I have three quick questions. Do you feel that Johnson & Johnson now has a responsibility to help fix the overall health care marketplace since it was involved in the advancement of ObamaCare? Second, will Johnson & Johnson work with the Trump Administration and Congress to promote its health care agenda as it did with the Obama Administration? And finally, what specific reforms would you suggest to our new President?

Danhof’s entire question, as prepared for delivery, is available here.

“In response to my question, Gorsky claimed Johnson & Johnson is neither a red company nor a blue company. Essentially, he tried to portray Johnson & Johnson as politically neutral. But the company went all-in for ObamaCare despite its top-down approach to health care. Now that President Trump wants to move the nation’s health care delivery system closer to a market-oriented system, the company has been less than cooperative,” added Danhof. “We will continue to monitor Johnson & Johnson’s involvement with any potential ObamaCare replacement because it has a duty to the American people to be part of that process.”

This marks the third time this year the FEP confronted health care executives at their shareholder meetings to ask them about their role in ObamaCare and how they might work with the Trump Administration on health care reform.

Another health care provider in the pharmacy industry, Walgreens Boots Alliance,indicated to the National Center in January that it would be willing to help replace ObamaCare. Walgreens Chairman James Skinner told Danhof the company would be willing to work with the Trump Administration in finding a free-market alternative to ObamaCare. Following that meeting, Danhof joined former Rep. J.D. Hayworth on “Newsmax Prime” to discuss why it is important for corporations to work with the Trump Administration on health care reform.

In April, Danhof confronted Humana CEO Bruce Broussard with a similar question. At that meeting, Humana all but abdicated the company’s responsibility to be involved in the health care reform process.

Launched in 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research’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 to advance 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. The Johnson & Johnson meeting marks FEP’s eight shareholder meeting attended so far in 2017. 

The National Centers Free Enterprise Project activism has yielded a tremendous return on investment:

  • FEPs highly-publicized questioning of support for the Clinton Foundation by Boeing and General Electric helped trigger an FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundations activities that dominated the 2016 presidential campaign.  
  • FEP inquiries prompted Facebook to address political bias against conservatives in social media.
  •  Company executives acknowledged media bias at ABC News (Disney), the Washington Post and CNN (Time Warner) in response to FEPs challenges, which helped to bring about more objective reporting and more balanced political representation.
  • FEPs Employee Conscience Protection Project strengthened protections for the political beliefs and activities of over five million workers at 13 major U.S. corporations.
So far in 2017, the FEP has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Breitbart, WorldNetDaily, Drudge Report, Business Insider, CNET, National Public Radio, American Family Radio and SiriusXM. In 2016, the FEP was also featured in the Washington Times, the Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto,” the Financial Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Newsmax, the Daily Caller, Lifezette, the Seattle Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribuneamong many others.  The Free Enterprise Project was also featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassels 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.  Sign up for email updates here.  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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Conservatives 3 – Liberals 0

Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Honeywell Investors Overwhelmingly Reject Left’s Call That They Stop Working with Conservative Organizations and Public Officials

Liberal Attacks on American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Losing Steam

Washington, DC – Three times in three business days, investors at three major corporations soundly voted to reject calls from the left that they stop working with conservative or free-market organizations or public officials.

The rejections came after the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative and free-market think-tank, spoke to investors at each company’s shareholder meeting and issued informational materials for shareholder use.

The rejections of the left came from investors at Honeywell, meeting today; Johnson & Johnson, meeting last Thursday (4/23); and Pfizer, also meeting last Thursday.

Johnson & Johnson investors rejected the left 95% to 5%. Pfizer investors rejected the left 94.7% to 5.7%. Honeywell reports that investors rejected the left’s proposal, but the specific vote totals will be reported in an upcoming SEC filing.

The rejections may mark an end to the left’s success in bullying investors and corporations into refusing to work with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a 40-year-old membership association of conservative and free-market state legislators. This has been a goal of the left since 2012, when it began a campaign to vilify ALEC that often misleads the public about ALEC’s goals and activities. The left’s proposals at Pfizer and Honeywell specifically targeted ALEC.

The left’s overwhelming failures at these three corporations may also mark an increasing recognition by investors and corporate officials that the goal of the left in making these proposals is to stop corporations from working with and/or supporting all conservative and free-market organizations and public officials – in essence, removing everyone who is right of center from a seat at the table.

Last Tuesday, the National Center for Public Policy Research issued a press release calling for investors of Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer to reject measures from left-wing organizations that targeted free-market organizations and beliefs. The investors of each company subsequently rejected those measures.

At today’s Honeywell meeting, the company’s investors rejected a proposal submitted by the City of Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund that masqueraded as a good governance proposal but was really an attack on the company’s involvement with ALEC.

At the meeting, National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. exposed the proponents’ true intentions and stated:

The primary target of the proposal is the American Legislative Exchange Council, a venerable group of state legislators and business leaders that have worked for more than four decades to foster a pro-business environment that has allowed companies such as Honeywell to thrive.

For daring to try to reduce the regulatory burdens on business and improve the American economic landscape, the left vilifies ALEC. And since ALEC is effective, liberals such as the proponents are working to silence ALEC by using corporate America as a pawn.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund’s proposal failed.

At last Thursday’s annual meeting of Pfizer shareholders, National Center Chairman Amy Ridenour spoke out against a proposal attacking ALEC submitted by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, a long-time advocate of normalized relations with Cuba. Investors rejected the proposal 94.3% against, 5.7% for.

At the meeting, Ridenour spoke against the proposal, stating:

A corporation that yields to activist demands that it stop funding or working with any group — whether on the right or the left — makes it a target of future campaigns, potentially damaging its brand as well as its ability to advance public policies that advance its interest, because it has shown it is vulnerable to such campaigns.

Also last Thursday, at the annual meeting of Johnson & Johnson shareholders, the company’s shareholders rejected a proposal submitted by NorthStar Asset Management that complained about the company’s donations to free-market causes and politicians. At the meeting, Danhof noted that Johnson & Johnson’s 2012 decision to end its relationship with ALEC opened the door for liberals such as NorthStar Asset Management to demand more:

…when liberal agitators falsely accused ALEC of being a racist organization for supporting voter ID laws (which by the way are favored by a majority of black Americans and Democrats), Johnson & Johnson was among the many companies to distance itself from ALEC despite the fact that ALEC works to create a strong business environment for the company and the left-wing race hustlers who opposed them could care less if Johnson & Johnson succeeds or fails. By giving that inch, the company opened itself up to these continued attacks.

I applaud the company’s investors for rejecting this latest attack and I hope that the company’s management truly takes to heart which organizations are working toward market-based solutions that help Johnson & Johnson and the American people, and those organizations such as NorthStar Asset Management that couldn’t care less.

Johnson & Johnson shareholders rejected NorthStar Asset Management’s proposal 95% to 5%.

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on corporations. From 2014-present, the National Center has participated in 64 shareholder meetings.

The National Center for Public Policy Research was founded in 1982. 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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Investors Asked to Vote Down Attacks on Free Enterprise

Leading Free Market Activist Group Advises Investors to Reject Upcoming Shareholder Resolutions Designed to Stifle Free Speech and Defund Market-Based Policy Solutions

Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Honeywell Investors Face Votes on Anti-Capitalist Measures

National Center for Public Policy Research Leading the Charge Against Extremist Attacks on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

As ALEC Works to Improve Business Environment and Expand American Jobs, Liberal Activists Spread Misinformation and Fear

Washington, DC – The National Center for Public Policy Research is advising investors to reject shareholder resolutions being presented by extremely liberal activists posing as good governance stewards at the respective upcoming annual shareholder meetings of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Honeywell.

The annual meeting of Pfizer shareholders will take place April 23 in Short Hills, New Jersey at 8:30 AM.

The annual meeting of Johnson & Johnson shareholders will take place April 23 in New Brunswick, New Jersey at 10:30 AM.

The annual meeting of Honeywell shareholders will take place April 27 in Morris Township, New Jersey at 10:30 AM.

“Corporate America is under assault from a twisted web of coordinated, progressive activist groups that pose as good governance proponents,” said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. “From NorthStar Asset Management, to As You Sow, to Ceres, to the SEIU, to the Center for Media & Democracy and many dozens more, liberal activist groups are seeking to use corporations as tools to advance far-left policies on issues such as health care and the environment. But more than anything, this movement is about ending one thing that many liberals simply abhor – free speech.”

At Thursday’s annual meeting of Johnson & Johnson shareholders, investors will vote on a proposal submitted by NorthStar Asset Management that ostensibly asks the company to align its corporate donations with its stated corporate values. However, the proposal is actually an attack on conservative politicians, free market positions and pro-business organizations. The proposal attacks Johnson & Johnson for past donations to politicians that supported free-market approaches to American energy policy and traditional marriage. It also attacks the company for its involvement with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“NorthStar gives away its true intentions in its proposal’s opening sentence, which complains about the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by bemoaning the Court’s plain language interpretation of free speech,” said Danhof. “But speech – in this instance, monetary donations – that Johnson & Johnson has made to liberal politicians is conspicuously absent from the laundry list of activities that NorthStar’s proposal complains about. NorthStar’s proposal only complains about donations that advance conservative or free-market causes. And that is the heart of this entire movement – the left is all for free speech, unless it disagrees with that speech.”

NorthStar Asset Management’s proposal can be found on page 78 of Johnson & Johnson’s proxy statement.

Johnson & Johnson made itself vulnerable to this type of proposal when it bowed to leftist pressure in 2012 and caved to Color of Change after it pressured the company to stop working with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“By acceding to the left’s demands to end a relationship with a well-respected, four-decade old organization of state legislators that promotes free market values and limited government, Johnson & Johnson put a target on its back. Once these extreme activists know a company will give an inch, they will come back for a mile,” said Danhof. “Johnson & Johnson’s investors can send a loud message Thursday by rejecting this latest liberal assault and perhaps steel the company’s spine against further attacks.”

Pfizer and Honeywell are under attack specifically for their continued involvement with ALEC.

“Liberal agitators have been running a coordinated effort to demonize ALEC for the better part of three-plus years. Pfizer and Honeywell investors have an opportunity to send a loud message that this movement has lost its steam. Built on a foundation of misinformation and outlandish racial attacks, liberals have been fomenting hatred for ALEC in an overt attempt to stifle free speech,” said Danhof. “Once investors know the truth about these trumped up attacks, I am confident they will reject these proposals and with it the entire anti-ALEC, anti-free speech movement.”

Pfizer investors will vote on a proposal submitted by the Christopher Reynolds Foundation that is a clear attempt to pressure the company to sever ties with ALEC. The proposal attacks work that ALEC did years ago concerning renewable energy standards and voter ID, claiming that such initiatives are “controversial.”

The left-wing Christopher Reynolds Foundation, established in 1952, is dedicated to the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba, but it lends its invested assets in U.S. corporations to other left-wing activism projects, such as those attacking ExxonMobil on climate change ; Merck, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson for belonging to PhRMA; many corporations on executive compensation, Dominion, Southern, and Covanta on biomass energy, and more.

“The Christopher Reynolds Foundation has clearly been spending too much of its time helping the Castro brothers,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research, “because it has gotten out of touch with the beliefs and interests of Americans here at home. It complains that Pfizer belongs to a pro-business group that supported voter ID years ago. Does the Christopher Reynolds Foundation not realize the American people support voter ID by 70-27%? That Democrats support it 55-43%? Black Americans 51-46? People with a college degree 64-33% and people without, 75-23%? I can well believe Fidel Castro disapproves of voter ID – he doesn’t even approve of voting – but the American people overwhelmingly do.”

“The Christopher Reynolds Foundation also complains in its proposal that ALEC has opposed ‘state-level Renewable Portfolio standards.’ These standards hurt the poor and disproportionally harm minorities by raising their energy prices ,” Ridenour added. “The Christopher Reynolds Foundation says it questions whether opposing regulations that raise energy costs on low-income Americans ‘is consistent with a commitment to integrity.’ Seriously – that’s its position. But we believe keeping energy costs as low as possible for low-income people is a good thing, and we suspect most investors do, too. So we call on Pfizer investors to vote DOWN the Christopher Reynolds Foundation proposal, which is Item #4 on the Pfizer proxy statement, and in so doing, vote UP the views and interests of the American people.”

Next Monday, Honeywell’s investors will face a similar proposal being moved by the City of Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Benefit Fund. Their proposal is on page 90 of the Honeywell proxy statement.

“This proposal is nothing more than an attempt to use Honeywell as a tool to continue the left’s tired tripe that ALEC is some boogeyman to be feared,” said Danhof. “The proponents are part of an effort that is actively working to undermine America’s capitalistic roots and by extension Honeywell itself. As the Obama Administration continues to expand the regulatory state, ALEC’s market-based approaches to policy problems are needed now more than ever.”

The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project is the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on corporate activities. 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.

The National Center has participated in eight shareholder meetings 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.

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