The Free Enterprise Project (FEP), associated with the National Center for Public Policy Research, uncovered the fact that U.S. Bancorp is a strong supporter of the Human Rights Campaign. HRC has vocally opposed Florida's "Parental Rights in Education Act" that prohibits discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in grades K-3.
During a virtual stockholders' meeting in Washington, DC, Ethan Peck of FEP asked Bancorp's CEO Andy Cecere: "Do you believe it's acceptable for teachers to discuss sex with kindergarteners? If not, will you end U.S. Bancorp's sponsorship of HRC given its deeply disturbing agenda?"
Shareholder questions, Peck reports, were not taken directly, but were prescreened and rewritten before being addressed. That, he says, allowed Cerere to "deflect," as follows:
"I'm going to paraphrase a question that just came in from the line," Cercere stated. "The question is: U.S. Bank is a corporate partner of the Human Rights Campaign, which has taken an active stance on gender education in schools. Why does U.S. Bank support HRC?
"I respond to say that we at U.S. Bank prize diversity," Cercere continued, "and support and work with a number of different organizations across the company, including the Human Rights Campaign. And it is a focus of ours as the way we run our business."
According to Peck, Cerere clearly "doubled down on their support for the Human Rights Campaign while also avoiding the PR nightmare of tying it to the anti-grooming legislation."
The FEP spokesman argues that it's fair to assume that neither U.S. Bancorp nor its CEO has an issue with teachers discussing sex with kindergartners – and "will continue to reallocate shareholder assets to professional groomers."
Peck believes the company has breached its fiduciary duties to shareholders, which he hopes will lead to litigation against U.S. Bancorp.