A group of hundreds of major U.S. companies and executives have signed a new statement opposing "any discriminatory legislation" that would make it harder for people to vote, and published it in a two-page ad in the New York Times (link)on Wednesday. The companies include Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Alphabet's Google (GOOGL)(GOOGL) and Starbucks (SBUX). Famed investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) also signed on. The move comes after a number of voting-related proposals from Republican state lawmakers, notably in Georgia, that have caused controversy and ignited protests from a range of constituencies. Republican leaders have responded by telling companies to stay out of politics -- but not to stop financing political campaigns. The statement was put together over the past week and a half and led by Ken Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express (AXP) and Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co. (MRK), according to the Times. The paper notes some notable omissions from the list, including Coca-Cola Co. (KO) and Delta (DAL), two key businesses that are headquartered in Atlanta and were among the first to condemn the Georgia bill. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and its CEO, Jamie Dimon, also declined to sign the statement, even after Dimon's annual letter to shareholders last weekhighlighted his concerns about inequality, (link) the widening wealth gap and the protests that followed the death of George Floyd last year.
-Ciara Linnane; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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