Ford CEO Pressed on Ford's Membership in Anti-Energy USCAP Lobbying Group at Annual Shareholder Meeting by National Center for Public Policy Research
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ford CEO Alan Mulally has committed to reconsidering his company's membership in a corporate-environmental movement lobby organization, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), that exists solely to lobby for federal laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Mulally was pressed on the matter at the company's annual stockholder meeting by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David A. Ridenour. Ridenour and the National Center for Public Policy Research are Ford shareholders.
Ridenour asked Ford's management:
"My question pertains to Ford's membership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a corporate-environmentalist alliance that seeks, and I quote 'legislation requiring significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.'
"Ford's membership in USCAP is surprising, given that Ford produces products that run on fossil fuels, less fuel efficient vehicles such as F-150s and Econoline vans accounted for 30% of your April sales, and some of its most reliable customers for these products, farmers, ranchers, and construction companies, run energy-intensive businesses that are highly sensitive to the fuel price increases Ford is lobbying for through USCAP. Furthermore, USCAP membership engenders ill-will for Ford among the new majority in Congress. Will you re-evaluate your membership in USCAP especially in light of the fact that even Government Motors, excuse me, General Motors, has withdrawn from USCAP? As has John Deere and Caterpillar?
"Finally, I'd like to share with your board, with your permission, a poll we commissioned on the reaction of conservatives, who represent a strong plurality of your customers, to corporations lobbying for cap-and-trade, as Ford again effectively is doing through USCAP. We surveyed attitudes about two other corporations – but haven't surveyed opinions about Ford ... yet. One corporation's favorability rating dropped 31 points while another's dropped 50 points because of their support for cap-and-trade. Have you fully analyzed the risks of continued USCAP membership poses to Ford's reputation?
"Don't give the keys to your cars to Washington," Ridenour concluded.
Speaking publicly in response to Ridenour, Mulally said Ford is constantly reviewing its memberships and alliances. Without expressly using the term, he said Ford had received public relations benefits from USCAP membership, and also specifically cited the benefit of being "to participate in the drafting of [the Energy and Security Act/cap-and-trade] legislation."
Ridenour met with Mulally privately following the shareholder meeting and was somewhat encouraged by the message he received. Among other things, Mulally acknowledged the risk that regulation of carbon emissions could lead to government control of the auto industry and expressed concern about this possibility. He also implied that the fact that "cap-and-trade is dormant" in Congress now could be significant in terms of Ford's future approach to these issues.
"It is understandable, though intensely regrettable and keenly unfortunate, that corporate executives faced with an anti-business, anti-energy Congress felt they had to join an anti-business, anti-energy lobbying coalition to get what Quislings often call a 'seat at the table,'" said Ridenour after the meetings, "but the American people must press the point that if all business executives who know better were to refuse to participate in their own destruction, there wouldn't be a dangerous table at which to sit. We need to further encourage Ford, other corporate USCAP members, and the entire business community not to preemptively surrender to left-wing lobby groups. Surrender means dire costs not only to their business bottom line, but to the welfare and prosperity of the American people as a whole."
Ridenour notes that the federal government is not an honest broker in energy regulation, as it has an interest in the profitability of both of Ford's two largest domestic competitors.
Corporate USCAP members, including Ford, reportedly provide six-figure grants to the green lobby group USCAP as a condition of membership.
Following pressure from the National Center for Public Policy Research, Caterpillar, John Deere, ConocoPhillips, BP and GM have all withdrawn from USCAP.
The National Center For Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org) is a conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank established in 1982. Its 2010 revenues were over $12 million. It is supported by the voluntary gifts of over 100,000 individual recent supporters, receiving less than one percent of its revenue from corporate sources. Contributions to it are tax-deductible.
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SOURCE National Center for Public Policy Research