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NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer refuses to call out companies for donating to anti-LGBTQ pols

2019-09-13

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is balking at an effort to lean on corporations who donate to anti-LGBTQ politicians.

A public awareness campaign called Zeros for Zeros, which has been pushing corporations to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ pols, asked the man who controls the investment of the city’s pension funds to help out with their effort.

But Stringer hasn’t heeded the campaign’s call for action, claiming his hands are tied.

“Comptroller Stringer and the New York City Retirement Systems have been leaders in advocating for LGBTQ+ diversity and workplace protections,” spokesman Eugene Resnick said in a statement, pointing to efforts like opposing Texas’s anti-LGBTQ “Bathroom Bill.”

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, on the other hand, had no problem supporting the effort.

The top state auditor sent letters urging UPS and 40 other companies not to give campaign contributions to pols hostile to LGBTQ rights.

“Many companies, including UPS, have strong records of adopting and enforcing inclusive LGBTQ policies for their employees,” DiNapoli wrote in an Aug. 22 letter to UPS’s CEO David Abney.

“However, there have been numerous instances where companies that publicly support LGBTQ rights engage in political spending on candidates or political action committees whose views and positions may undermine efforts to uphold those rights.”

The missive from DiNapoli — who oversees the state retirement fund, which invests in UPS — concludes with a polite exhortation for the shipping giant to review its political donating policies.

Other companies that got similar letters include Mastercard, General Motors, Best Buy, Bayer, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, Northrop Grumman and Chevron. The state retirement fund invests in all of them.

UPS has donated thousands of dollars to the campaigns of pols throughout the country that Zero for Zeros considers anti-LGBTQ. They include retiring Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.), who has a history of bizarre homophobic remarks.

Zero for Zeros started over the summer by reaching out to tech and IT giants that trumpet pro-LGBTQ views while donating to anti-LGBTQ lawmakers.

It urged DiNapoli to join the cause, writing him, “The New York State Common Retirement Fund is a national leader and its actions impact policies across the country and across industries.”

Zero for Zeros’ campaign manager Lane Hudson applauded him for taking action.

"Comptroller DiNapoli understands that this campaign is seeking to help our corporate allies do not only the right thing but take a step that also makes smart business sense,” Hudson said in a statement.

“By aligning their well-known values with their political contributions, these companies and major brands avoid risking damage to employee morale, reputation and shareholder value.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson voiced support for Zero for Zeros’ work.

"As an openly gay elected official, I applaud companies that have LGBTQ friendly policies and support LGBTQ causes,” he said. “But they aren’t fully supporting gay rights if they are funding anti-LGBTQ politicians, those who say and do things that undermine the LGBTQ rights movement. That’s not progress. Corporations that support LGBTQ rights should be appalled by these politicians, not giving them money to stay in power.”