Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Grant of 2nd Vote Advisers to the studio to discuss his recent talks with red-state treasurers and the potential to divest in corporations that do not promote American values.
Leahy: In studio with our good friend Mayor of Maury County Andy Ogles and Dan Grant, another good friend with 2ndvoteadvisers.com. I’m so excited about this. I’m so excited. Now you’re talking to some red-state treasurers, right?
Leahy: Tell us why. What is it that the red state treasurers have?
Grant: Well, it’s pretty interesting, actually. So actually, we were just in the Australian Financial Review, which is The Wall Street Journal in Australia. And the reason we resonate with red-state treasurers and Australia is they’re heavily reliant on fossil fuels.
Leahy: Yeah. Fossil fuels have created the energy of America that’s cost-effective energy.
Leahy: And they’ve made a lot of improvements on environmental issues. But the Larry Fink’s of the world who want to tell everybody else what to do and what’s virtuous or not have declared fossil fuels are not virtuous.
Grant: Which is a problem if you are a red state treasurer and your state’s economy is dependent on fossil fuels. The main companies in the state are dependent on it. The main industries in your state are dependent on it.
I had lunch with a red state treasure a week and a half ago, and this gentleman controls over $70 billion in assets. And he was telling me exactly what I just said. They are under attack.
That week alone, Exxon lost three board seats to a small hedge fund called Engine No. 1. Engine No. 1 really didn’t know much stock, but they put a slate of directors out there. And then Engine No. 1 went to Vanguard, BlackRock, and some of the other large ones.
Leahy: Vanguard is like the number two.
Grant: Number two. And got enough votes to actually put three activists on the board.
Leahy: Now they like solar, solar, solar. Fossil fuel bad.
Grant: They are not saying, let’s go pump more oil out of the Gulf. (Leahy laughs) I can promise you that.
Leahy: I say bring that all on. Bring it on. Bring it on. (Chuckles)
Grant: Exxon is under attack. That same week, Shell lost a very important case in a Dutch court, which basically is making Shell diversify out of 45 percent of its fossil fuel business.
Leahy: Shell is a Dutch company?
Grant: Shell is a Dutch company.
Leahy: Nothing says free markets like I don’t know, a European quasi-socialist government like the Netherlands.
Grant: Let’s follow that example.
Leahy: Because it’s working so well.
Grant: What could go wrong?
Leahy: (Laughs) You are very good. That was good.
Grant: And then lastly, the same week, Moody’s came out with a report saying 40 percent of companies represent an environmental threat. 40 percent of companies in the United States represent a threat.
Leahy: What are they talking about?
Grant: Well, what they’re talking about is regulations. They’re talking about what Maxine Waters is talking about.
Ogles: A point that we kind of danced around earlier is this idea that these large corporations are putting in these layers and layers of regulations to stifle competition.
Ogles: Because they don’t want you and me to start a business. They don’t want the small guy to become a big guy or gal for that matter or a mid-size company that becomes larger.
And so this has nothing to do with the environment. This has nothing to do with carbon footprints or whatever. They are literally trying to put other people out of business.
Grant: You’re right Andy. The government can’t control small businesses so what they want to do is regulate it. They can control large businesses. If large businesses can then make small businesses less competitive by piling on taxes through regulations, that’s what they’re going to do.
And that is exactly what they are doing. You don’t think Maxine Waters really cares about the Investor Protection Act, do you?
Leahy: So in terms of the red states, I think we’re talking. You don’t have to name any, but I will. So red States that have heavily in their portfolio, the fossil fuel companies. Obviously, Texas would be the big dog that would be there.
But Oklahoma would have them. And the Dakotas. North Dakota and South Dakota, New Mexico, and Arizona. All of those. New Mexico is not exactly a red state. Andy?
Ogles: One of the things that when Facebook was censoring the president, I sent a letter to the governor of the Speaker of the House and Lieutenant governor saying that the state of Tennessee should divest itself of any shares of Facebook and Twitter.
Why? Because these are big companies that have become social activists. They don’t represent Tennessee values. By the way, I never got a response to that letter. But that’s something that Florida has done.
Again, what would Ron DeSantis do? Florida has taken the steps to divest itself. And these huge investment funds States control red states and all states. They control a lot of money. If I dump my few shares of Facebook, it has zero impact.
If I cancel my Facebook account, it has zero impact. But if you have a state that has $50 or $60 billion under management and they say, you know what, Twitter? We don’t like what you’re doing to Conservatives on your platform that moves the needle. So I applaud 2nd Vote for what you’re doing.
Leahy: And Dan Grant, last minute of the program, you got 30 seconds. Sum up, 2nd Vote Advisers. Why should you go there?
Grant: Because we believe companies should be inspired by the First Amendment. Companies should not be trying to over-regulate and trying to stifle the First Amendment. Jack Dorsey of Twitter should not be dumping Trump because he can do it.
The First Amendment protects individuals from the government only, not from corporations. But corporations should be inspired because that is what makes our society great.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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