Merged bank: “Hate is not charitable”

Merged Bank: Left Labor Bank (complete series)
How did we come here? | Philanthropic policy
“Hate is not charitable” | Shareholder activism

“Hate is not charitable”

But Amalgamated Charitable doesn’t just provide a channel to fund left-wing causes.

In mid-2019, the pass-through launched an aggressive campaign to limit donations to conservative, libertarian, and right-wing nonprofits by labeling them “hate groups.” The Hate Is Not Charitable campaign was a classic smear campaign: using dubious data from discredited and ideologically motivated people. Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the campaign could paint mainstream organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (which was later deleted from the SPLC’s “hate” list) as spreading “hate” alongside more marginal groups.

Suddenly, any organization supporting the traditional definition of marriage could be branded “anti-LGBT,” while groups advocating lower net immigration to the United States could be branded “anti-immigrant” or “anti-Muslim”.

Unquestionably, the (in)famous “hate card” hunts down real hate groups, including many racist and ethnic nationalist groups like the Nation of Islam, the New Black Panther Party and the Ku Klux Klan.

But it was never to carefully distinguish between mainstream conservative groups and extremists, but rather to prevent the former from using big DAF suppliers to raise funds, as Amalgamated Charitable and countless advocacy groups do. left.

Hate Is Not Charitable aims to pressure Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund, and Vanguard Charitable — some of the country’s top DAF providers — to stop donors from specifying grants to any group that the SPLC and Amalgamated deem extreme, no matter how extreme. whatever the truth of their accusations.

Although it ultimately fell short of its end goal, the campaign received a boost in February 2021 when it launched the “Democracy Reinvestment Fund” with the aim of redirect funds retained by the campaigns companies of any congressman who voted against certification of state results in the 2020 election or “supported the insurgents who breached the Capitol on January 6” — naturally, all Republicans.

Amalgamated’s goal is to mop up funds that would normally have supported the campaigns of these politicians and use them to advance an agenda of action on climate change, “racial justice”, “democratic reform”, voter registration and participation; and sweeping changes in campaign finance. .

The ESG bank of the left

Amalgamated Bank is also heavily involved in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) activism. The idea behind ESG is to insert non-financial (and often political) standards into corporate operations, influencing business decisions for ideological purposes. Promoters generally identify their goal as the creation of a more “understooda form of capitalism that promotes “social justice”, climate change policies and other political causes.

Amalgamated’s parent holding company, Amalgamated Financial Corp., is “the first publicly traded bank focused on ESG.” This means that Amalgamated actively uses often political ESG considerations in its operations. Indeed, the bank is explicit with its promise: “When you deposit your money at Amalgamated, it supports sustainable organizations, progressive causes and social justice.”

Critics often denounce corporate involvement in divisive ESG issues as “woke capitalism,” and Amalgamated’s forays into this area span the breadth of America’s sociopolitical landscape. His statements aboutIssues we care aboutread more like those of a Democratic candidate running for office than a traditional financial institution. It is not a coincidence. “We’re doing a great national deal in banking with the Democratic Party,” said former Amalgamated chairman and CEO Keith Mestrich. Explain for Crain’swho noted that Democratic campaigns and organizations paid Amalgamated more than $2 million in fees during the 2018 midterm election cycle.

The bank’s environmental activism, for example, is presented as a broader initiative on “Climate Justice“, where he argues that “[t]he climate crisis needs to be urgently addressed with bold solutions focusing on the first and worst and moving to a fair and clean economy. It refuses to lend to “fossil fuel” companies – the companies that supply the large majority of US primary energy consumption – while simultaneously funding $893 million in climate protection loans and investments in 2020 alone.

For retail investors who are so inclined, Amalgamated promotes a “100% Fossil Fuel Free Walletcontaining only “rigorously screened” mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that have received a “perfect badge score for fossil fuel divestment” and other ESG practices.

Social factors encompass many different issues. Amalgamated refuses to do business with organizations that “impede workers’ rights” or “do not support the fair, just, and fair treatment of the BIPOC community,” in addition to private prison operators, payday lenders, and manufacturers. or distributors of firearms and ammunition. He also works a lot with Planned parenthood and its affiliates, even being among the founding members of the federation’s corporate advisory board.

The governance component of ESG generally refers to factors related to the structure and operation of a company. Amalgamated is organized as a public utility company and its certificate of social organization specifically includes language that prioritizes social and environmental factors alongside financial returns for shareholders. This lists “racial justice and equity” among the “fundamental principles of our corporate vision and values” and been there “[f]first bank to add LGBTQ+ to board diversity definition for shareholder voting standards.

In the next episode, Amalgamated Bank and its union clients have engaged in extensive shareholder activism to advance center-left policies.

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