A day after JPMorgan Chase announced it would freeze its political contributions in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the nation’s largest bank made an unpublicized move indicating it may not be eager to overhaul how it does business in Washington.
The company wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission asking the agency to block activist investors from forcing the bank to provide a fuller accounting of its political spending. Specifically, the shareholders, organized by social impact investment firm Rhia Ventures, want JPMorgan to report on how its campaign giving squares with its stated commitment to a lofty set of values.
The investors say the mob attack highlights the urgency of their cause. “This is the most extreme example of why companies need to dig deeper, articulate their values, then put their money where their mouths are,” said Shelley Alpern, director of shareholder advocacy for Rhia Ventures. “It’s not outrageous to ask companies to stay true to those values, so they not only do less collateral damage to society but suffer less blowback when contradictions are turned up and exposed.”