Washington, D.C — On the heels of President Biden’s national address on the growing threats to democracy which is now the top concern among Americans, nonpartisan government watchdog Accountable.US launched its major ‘American Democracy Scorecard’ project today – a living, public interactive resource that scores all Fortune 100 companies’ actions around critical democracy issues. The project lays out these corporations’ purported values and actions on helping protect our democracy and compares it to their political spending on these issues. Among its comprehensive review, Accountable.US found that Wisconsin-based Fortune 100 Northwestern Mutual received an F rating.
The new Scorecard website features a landing page that lays out the 100 company grades in an easily digestible and searchable fashion. Clicking on company names leads to summary pop-outs highlighting some of the criteria that led to each company’s score.Navigating further will lead users to detailed profiles that examine companies’ political spending (donations to election objectors, to federal opponents of key voting rights bills, to state supporters of voter suppression tactics, etc), and their corporate values, including public statements on democracy and voting rights, affiliations with special interest groups working to expand or undermine democracy, transparency in political activities, and other efforts such as providing voter information resources to customers or employees.
For example, Accountable.US found that Wisconsin-based Northwestern Mutual scored an F based on the 14 criteria we used to assess their impact on America’s democracy. Among the criteria that negatively impacted Northwestern Mutual’s score, we found they donated at least $59,400 to Members of Congress that voted against certifying the 2020 election in the aftermath of the deadly coup attempt, a group that has been called the ‘Sedition Caucus’. The company also contributed $3,000 to state lawmakers that have pushed voter suppression legislation that targets voters of color.
“Americans overwhelmingly say corporations should stand up for democracy, yet we’re seeing the vast majority of major companies failing miserably,” said Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.US. “Corporate executives know their customers, employees, and shareholders want to buy from, work for, or invest in a company that shares their values, not just one that preserves its bottom line. They pay lip service to democratic ideals and the rule of law and then support policymakers peddling the Big Lie. At a time when threats to democracy are Americans’ top concern, everyone deserves to know whether a company’s actions align with their purported values.
Corporations and their executives that use their power and influence to preserve democracy will only find it’s good for their business and the economy,” added Herrig.
See All National Trends Identified in the ‘American Democracy Scorecard’ HERE.
At Issue: Based on several surveys, many corporations and Americans recognize our democracy is under assault (18 states passed 34 voter suppression laws since 2021). Many of these same corporations have made broad proclamations supporting democratic ideals while simply failing to help protect the democratic system under which they have thrived. In some cases, they continue to support policymakers and organizations that seek to restrict voting rights, engage in voter suppression efforts, baselessly question the integrity of our elections, and undermine our democracy as a whole. By measuring how well the rhetoric of these top corporations matches their actions and comparing them to one another, we hope this will serve as a lasting resource to make companies think twice about engaging in behavior that undermines democracy and can also harm their reputation. Just as important, this tool will help consumers and employees make more informed decisions about where to spend their hard-earned dollars or where to seek employment.
POLLING: As the public continues to learn stunning details from the January 6th Select Committee on how Trump and many of his Congressional allies directly incited the capitol riot, a June 2022 survey from Data for Progress found “Fifty-seven percent of voters oppose corporations making campaign contributions to members of Congress who voted to overturn the election, including … 56 percent of Independents.” And a May 2022 Morning Consult survey found “64%+ of consumers say that a business with a public commitment to democracy shows the business cares about its customers, their employees, and has the right values.”