Politically conservative groups have never seen much support from other investors—last year garnering just 2.5 percent on average for eight proposals—and they often submit their resolutions without adhering carefully to the shareholder proposal rule, encountering technical difficulties that mean their resolutions do not make it into proxy statements. Nonetheless, they continue to pursue conservative aims that largely have been about social policy (top chart).
As in recent years, the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, is the main player, with resolutions also filed by David Ridenour, one of its principals. NCPPR calls itself “the nation’s preeminent free-market activist group focusing on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business.” This January it said it has participated in 100 corporate annual meetings, “advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues.” A new wrinkle this year is to file and then withdraw proposals under challenge, offering to provide speakers to corporate events to relay its message. At the Costco meeting in January, the center’s Free Enterprise Project’s Justin Danhof spoke out to dispute “the liberal narrative in Trump tax cuts.”
The final resolution tally of conservative-backed proposals for 2018 remains unclear as of this writing; NCPPR does not respond to Si2 inquiries for information. Information about NCPPR resolutions often surfaces in company challenges filed at the SEC.