Standing Fast for MacBride Principles and for Shareholder Rights– Resisting efforts in Congress to exclude 99% of American investors

Posted By: April 28, 2017


Fr. Sean Mc Manus and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). 

Congressional Hearing. April 28, 2017.

CAPITOL HILL. Friday, April 28, 2017—For the second time this week, the House Financial Services Committee held a Hearing on the proposed Financial Choice Act. If passed, the Act would, in effect, eliminate current rules for shareholders’ advocacy for worthy causes, exclude 99% of the American public, and would sabotage the Mac Bride Principles— a corporate code of conduct for American companies doing business in Northern Ireland.

Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is the Congresswoman for New York’s 12th Congressional District, which includes most of the East Side of Manhattan, Roosevelt Island and extends across the East River into the Boroughs of Queens (including Astoria, Long Island City, and parts of Woodside) and Brooklyn (including Green Point).

 The Congresswoman has been an avid supporter of the Mac Bride Principles from the moment the Principles were launched by the Irish National Caucus on November 5, 1984. Indeed, Congresswoman Maloney is very proud that as a member of the New York City Council (1982- 1992), she was a key supporter of the MacBride Bill that was introduced by Councilman Sal Albanese (D- Brooklyn) and passed by the New York City Council.

This Congressional Hearing on April 28 was boycotted by all but two of the 34 Republicans who serve on the Financial Services Committee, including Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), who has proposed the radical, extremist assault on shareholder advocacy. Currently, and for many years, one could submit a shareholder resolution provided one had for at least one year $2,000 worth of shares. However, if the extremist changes are passed into law, it would mean, for one example, to submit a resolution to Apple, one would need to own, for three years shares worth $7.5 Billion.

Fr. Sean Mc Manus—President/Founder of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus—said: “When one considers that the Mac Bride Principles were twice passed by the Republican- controlled Congress (and signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1998), it is an extraordinary change in direction for Republicans. I cannot understand why they want to confirm the stereotype (which they claim is unfair) of Republicans only being interested in the super rich. Their assault on shareholder resolutions identifies them with 1% of Americans, disdaining the 99%. I cannot believe that good, decent Republican Members of Congress want to be seen in such a light. The late, great Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY) must be turning in his grave. It was Ben—God rest his noble Jewish-American soul—who, as Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, helped the Irish National Caucus to successfully push the Mac Bride legislation through the Congress.”

Fr. Mc Manus concluded: “I have been hoping that Congressman Peter King (R-NY), a long time outspoken supporter of the Mac Bride Principles— and of how the Principles have combatted Anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland— would take the lead in convincing the Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee not to sabotage the Mac Bride Principles. But he has ‘been missing in action’ and absent from the past two Hearings. I remember the time that if there was a Congressional Hearing with great importance for Ireland, the entire British Army could not keep Peter from attending. His failure to stand up for the Mac Bride Principles is deeply disappointing. I just don’t know what to make of it.” END.