WASHINGTON, D.C. – An AT&T Inc. shareholder resolution has been recently submitted criticizing the company’s “politically focused expenditures” that “appear to be misaligned with its public statements on Company values, views, and operational practices.” The resolution – which the AT&T Board of Directors “unanimously recommends” shareholders vote against during a May 19th shareholder meeting – cites research from government watchdog Accountable.US finding AT&T’s PAC contributed $132,500 to pro-voter suppression Texas state lawmakers the month before a special July 2021 session to vote on a major bill making it much harder for people of color and those with disabilities to vote. Those donations clearly contradicted April 2021 statements from AT&T’s CEO that “the right to vote is sacred” and AT&T’s web page dedicated to “racial equality.” 

“AT&T’s board shouldn’t be surprised by shareholder backlash after the company’s political spending has completely flown in the face of its purported support for democracy and equality,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “AT&T has been willing to risk its reputation by misleading the public about what the company truly values – having political sway with lawmakers, no matter what extreme, anti-democratic views they hold. If AT&T wants to keep propping up politicians that deny the freedom to vote to disadvantaged communities, it has to be honest about it to its customers, shareholders and own employees. This shouldn’t be a hard choice because a healthy democracy will always be what’s best for business.”  

Specifically, the shareholder resolution calls on AT&T to “publish a report, at reasonable expense, analyzing the congruence of the Company’s political and electioneering expenditures during the preceding year against publicly stated company values and policies, listing and explaining any instances of incongruent expenditures, and stating whether the Company has made, or plans to make, changes in contributions or communications to candidates as a result of identified incongruencies. The resolution also states that the report “include management’s analysis of risks to the Company brand, reputation, or shareholder value associated with expenditures in conflict with its publicly stated company values.” 

Additional Background on AT&T’s Hypocrisy from Accountable.US: