Thursday, December 01, 2005

NLPC Asks Corporations to Stay Away from Jesse Jackson's Wall Street Conference; Ethics Group Cites Controversy, Anti-Semitism at Last Rainbow/PUSH Event

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, today sent the following letter to the chief executive officers of Ford Motor Company, Freddie Mac, GE, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, IBM, MetLife, Microsoft, New York Life, Raytheon, Time Warner, Toyota, Waste Management, and other companies:
We ask that you refrain from sponsoring the annual Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Conference scheduled to take place January 8-11, 2006 in New York City. Your company was identified by Rainbow/PUSH as a sponsor of last year's event.
The New York Stock Exchange ended its sponsorship and financial support for the same event in 2005 in apparent response to our requests.
You should be aware that corporate sponsors of another recent Jesse Jackson conference were subjected to controversy and embarrassment. At the Rainbow/PUSH & Citizenship Education Fund Annual Conference that took place in Chicago on June 11-16, 2005, the following problems occurred:
1) Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan spoke at a luncheon sponsored by Toyota and other corporations. Toyota insists that that Farrakhan spoke "unbeknownst" to Toyota.
2) Toyota was listed on conference materials as a "Platinum Sponsor" but Toyota claims that it did not sponsor the conference and that its name and trademark was used without its knowledge or permission.
3) Another conference speaker, Harry Belafonte, made inflammatory and anti-Semitic statements. Belafonte called Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, a "powerful Jew" and a "liar," and complained that "only a Jew has a right to the word Holocaust."
A member of our staff was present and witnessed these events, which were also reported in the media. Many of your customers, shareholders, employees and business partners object to your bankrolling of Jesse Jackson and his organizations.
Jesse Jackson appears to be turning up the heat in anticipation of the conference. Reuters reported that on Tuesday Jesse Jackson said Wall Street has "a long way to go" in establishing parity for minorities.
"If you think about it, the struggle all began on Wall Street," Jackson told Reuters. "Wall Street was built as a commodity exchange and the commodity was Africans. Most blacks lived in the Wall Street area. At some point they moved them north to what is now Harlem, but it all began in what is now Wall Street."
NLPC promotes ethics in public life, and sponsors the Corporate Integrity Project.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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