It's Official: John Deere Stands Firmly With the Left
by Judy Kent
Moline, IL/Washington, DC - At John Deere's annual shareholder meeting in Moline, Illinois, an attorney with the National Center for Public Policy Research criticized Deere executives for caving to left-wing race bullies and dropping its membership the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a venerable network of conservative state legislators.
Deere dumped ALEC at the behest of Color of Change after Color of Change baselessly complained that ALEC's work on state-level voter ID measures were really racist attempts to suppress black votes.
"Deere CEO Samuel Allen stood firmly behind his company's decision to drop ALEC, and made it clear that Deere will not reconsider membership in ALEC. Allen claimed that the decision to leave ALEC was not specifically related to its work on voter ID laws," said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who questioned Allen today. "When I pressed Allen as to why then the company dropped ALEC, he refused to say. It is likely he has no other explanation than the pressure from Color of Change. Deere dropped ALEC during the height of Color of Change's anti-ALEC campaign, and Deere sent a letter to Color of Change letting it know Deere was dropping its membership. That's more than a coincidence."
John Deere had been working with ALEC's Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force when Deere Senior Vice President and General Counsel James R. Jenkins sent a letter to Color of Change in mid-2012 announcing Deere was leaving ALEC.
"Deere's actions gave serious corporate clout to radical groups making outrageous and unfounded claims against conservative and free-market groups. Bending to the twisted will of radical left organizations is not a solid business strategy," said Danhof. "If Deere is content to do the bidding of extreme race-baiters, shareholders may want to avoid investing in this company until its leaders recommit to free-market causes."
"When I asked Mr. Allen if he would reconsider membership in ALEC, he alluded that doing as I suggested would mean the company would again be bending to the will of extremists," noted Danhof. "I don't see any other way to interpret that than Allen was saying the National Center for Public Policy Research, a mainstream conservative group with essentially the same views as Ronald Reagan, is 'extremist.'"
"Allen can call us names all he wants," Danhof continued, "but when it comes to the voter ID debate, we have the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court, common sense and an overwhelming majority of the American people, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, on our side. All he has is a few fringe race hustler organizations and their allies in the mainstream media."
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court decisively ruled that state-level voter identification laws are a commonsense constitutional way for states to help protect their citizens from voter fraud. Since that time, national polls shows broad support for voter identification laws. Consistently polling above 70 and even 80 percent favorability, voter ID laws are supported by a majority of Republicans, Democrats, independents, Hispanics, African-Americans, women and men.
"America ranks near the bottom of all democracies in terms of voter turnout. Faith in the electoral system is broken. It is no wonder voter ID laws receive such broad support. Americans want certainty that their votes will not be stolen and that elections are fair. That is why states that implement voter ID laws tend to have higher turnout - those voters can have a higher degree of certainty that those who cast ballots are who they say they are," explained Danhof. "For John Deere to stand in the way of electoral progress and lend its voice to the fraud-enablers at Color of Change in unconscionable," said Danhof.
"Does race-baiting help John Deere build better tractors? I doubt it," Danhof added.
And even though ALEC stopped working on the voter integrity issue, Color of Change still has an entire section of its website dedicated to defunding the 40-year-old organization of conservative and free-market state legislators entitled "Tell Corporations: Stop Funding ALEC."
"It appears Color of Change's true mission is to gin up false racial narratives to defund conservative and free-market causes," noted Danhof. "But we will not be silenced."
Partly in response to John Deere and other corporate members dropping their memberships in ALEC, the National Center announced a new Voter Identification Task Force. In short order, the National Center has become a leading national voice for voter integrity and fairness. As Danhof was questioning Deere executives, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in which the National Center's Project 21 black leadership network submitted an amicus curiae brief asking the Court to treat all states and localities fairly and equally under the Voting Rights Act.
A copy of Justin Danhof's question at the shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a John Deere shareholder.