SEC Sides With Conservatives Against PayPal Over Alleged Discrimination

Conservator investors can claim a nice victory after the Securities and Exchange Commission says an investigation into PayPal’s practices was allowed to move forward.

PayPal’s management is obviously against the request, but the National Center for Public Policy Research’s proposal to go to a vote for shareholders at the next annual meeting for the company can move forward. The claims are that the third-party payment provider systematically discriminated against some of its customers based on their religious and political views.

This SEC decision follows a similar one it handed down in late March that alleged the same discrimination by the largest bank in America, JPMorgan Chase.

The SEC sent a letter to the attorneys representing PayPal on April 10. In it, they wrote that the proposal from NCPPR “requests that the board conduct an evaluation and issue a report within the next year evaluating how it oversees risks related to discrimination against individuals based on their race, color, religion (including religious views), sex, national origin, or political views, and whether such discrimination may impact individuals’ exercise of their constitutionally protected civil rights.”

PayPal tried to block that proposal from making its way to a vote in front of the company’s shareholders. 

In their argument, PayPal claimed shareholders shouldn’t be able to consider the request because viewpoint discrimination is part of its “ordinary business operations” and “the proposal seeks to ‘micro-manage’ the company by probing too deeply into matters of a complex nature upon which shareholders, as a group, would not be in a position to make an informed judgment.”

The SEC disagreed with that argument, though. In their ruling, they wrote:

“In our view, the Proposal transcends ordinary business matters.”

NCPPR’s proposal stated that all companies that provide financial or banking services are “essential pillars of the marketplace.” As such, plenty of state and federal laws prohibit their discriminating against people when they seek to provide these financial services to members of the public.

One of the directors at the organization, Scott Shepard, who co-authored the proposal, recently spoke to The Epoch Times and sadi:

“We know from news stories that PayPal has been discriminating on the basis of viewpoints, shutting down accounts that differ from their ‘woke’ political principles. We’re giving them a chance with this to consider ways to rectify those problems.”

PayPal has been categorized as a very progressive company, and that’s not just conservatives saying so.

It received a ranking of 49 on a scale of 100 by Standard & Poor’s for the category of social justice, specifically in the area of ESG – or environmental, social and governance. The industry average score for ESG is only 22, so it’s double that average. The highest score in the industry for that category is 90, though.

The company has also become increasingly more progressive, according to the Standard & Poor’s score that rates overall ESG initiatives. In 2018, the score was 18, but it’s 58 today.