More than 120 CEOs met on Zoom this week to discuss ways to prevent Republican-led efforts to limit voting access nationwide.

Some of the CEOs’ efforts include pulling their donations, refusing to move business or jobs to states that pass restrictive measures and relocating events, according to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management and one of the call’s organizers.

“It was incredibly concrete,” said Sonnenfeld about the call.

“The overriding spirit is they don’t want politicians using wedge issues to try and solidify their hold on office because that leads to angry communities and finger-pointing workforces and divided shareholders. It makes their job as CEOs harder to manage these constituents. They want social harmony,” Sonnenfeld continued.

Many CEOs from across different industries attended the call, including financial, pharmaceutical, technology, travel, transportation and retail. The following were notable attendees:

  • Brad Karp – Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Law Firm
  • Reid Hoffman – LinkedIn co-founder
  • Mellody Hobson – Ariel Investments
  • Chip Bergh – Levi Strauss
  • Arthur Blank – co-founder of Home Depot and owner of Atlanta Falcons
  • Representatives of AMC Theaters
  • Representatives of three major airlines

Republicans responded to the CEOs’ efforts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said it is “stupid” for corporations to get involved in political issues and followed with warning corporate America to “stay out of politics.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) said the CEOs’ actions were “nonsense,” the comment coming after Republican legislators advanced a restrictive voting bill for Texas on Thursday.

In response to Republicans voting restriction laws, House Democrats passed a voting rights bill, the For the People Act, to create a federal floor for election access and regulations.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) promised the bill would get a vote in the Senate but is unsure if it will pass due to the 50-50 split of the chamber.

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