Manufacturers Challenge SEC’s Authority to Politicize Corporate Governance
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Manufacturers filed a motion to intervene in National Center for Public Policy Research v. SEC, a case about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s authority to dictate the content of public company proxy ballots and the topics on which shareholders are required to cast votes. If granted intervenor status, the NAM will argue that the SEC’s rules requiring companies to include activist proposals on the proxy ballot violate federal securities law and the First Amendment. Following the filing of the motion to intervene, NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly released the following statement:
“Manufacturers are facing an onslaught of activists seeking to hijack the proxy ballot to advance narrow political agendas, and the SEC has become a willing partner in the effort. The corporate proxy ballot is not the appropriate venue for policy decisions better made by America’s elected representatives, and manufacturers are regularly caught in the middle as activists on the left and the right bring fights from the political arena into the boardroom. The NAM Legal Center is standing up for manufacturers to ensure they can focus on growing their businesses, driving economic expansion and job creation and creating value for shareholders.”
- Under SEC Rule 14a-8, public companies are required to include most shareholder proposals on their proxy ballot—proposals that in recent years have skewed increasingly toward social or political topics unrelated from a company’s business and its long-term value.
- The SEC evaluates company requests to exclude certain proposals from the ballot and increasingly requires companies to include and take a position on these proposals. For example, the NAM strongly opposed recent SEC guidance preventing companies from excluding proposals on environmental, social and governance topics of “broad societal impact”—irrespective of whether the proposal has any connection to the company’s operations.
- As intervenor in National Center for Public Policy Research v. SEC, the NAM would argue that the SEC cannot compel corporate speech, in violation of the First Amendment and federal securities laws, by forcing companies to include activist proposals on their proxy ballots.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.90 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
Manufacturers Unveil Competitiveness Agenda Ahead of Midterm Elections
“Competing to Win” offers a path for bringing the country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org