Letter to Chairman Christopher Cox Opposing Healthcare Via Proxy Voting
May 29, 2008
The Honorable Christopher Cox
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-1090
Dear Chairman Cox:
We were disappointed to read in Monday's New York Times that the SEC has done an about-face, and is now requiring companies to include shareholder proposals supporting universal health care in official proxy materials. This change comes after years of holding to the contrary, and it seems the only thing that has changed is that unions and other special interests groups are increasingly determined to use the proxy process to advance their agendas. While the wording in their proposals may have changed, health care benefits are a matter of ordinary business and should be excluded from proxy materials.
As I noted in my enclosed letter from last year, the proxy process is simply the wrong forum for debating the future of the U.S. health care system. While we recognize the importance of this topic, conversations on the future of health care should take place in the Congress and White House. Companies and shareholders alike would be better served by focusing on core management issues and value creation.
The proxy process shouldn't be used to push social and public policy issues as defined by unions and specials interests. Our members are deeply concerned that this latest policy change by the Commission will open up the window to even greater abuse of the process. We will follow up with your office shortly to arrange a time to discuss this important matter.
Thomas J. Donohue
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
cc: Commissioner Paul S. Atkins
Commissioner Kathleen L. Casey