The AFL-CIO has put pressure on members of the so-called Alliance for Worker Retirement Safety (a lobbying organization representing 40 companies that would stand to gain from privatization of social security). The good news is this: Edward Jones and Waddell & Reed Financial pulled out of AWRS!
According to all internet sources I could find, the only known financial companies that are members of AWRS are Wachovia & Charles Schwab. I wrote to AWRS and received a prompt response that the names of the member organizations are not public information. Want to take action? Take your money out of these two known institutions.
These companies do not necessarily support AWRS (although some do), but each of them supports privatization through ties to groups like AWRS, AEI, ALEC, Cato, Manhattan, Third Millennium, the Heritage Foundation, and USA Next (the lovely people who brought us the Swift Boat ads)
American Financial Group
American International Group
Bank of America/Quick & Reilly
Bank of New York/Pershing
Dimensional Fund Advisors
Dodge & Cox
Gilder Gagnon Howe
JP Morgan Chase
AEI, ALEC, Manhattan
Legg Mason Wood Walker
MFS Investment Management
Oaktree Capital Mgmt
RBC Dain Rauscher
Robert W. Baird
St. Paul Travelers
Trust Company of the West
Wells Fargo/Strong Financial
BUSINESS COALITIONS LOBBYING FOR PRIVATIZATION
Alliance for Worker Retirement Security
The AWRS was set up by the National Association of Manufacturers in 1998 to do inside-the-beltway lobbying for privatization. AWRS plans to spend “multiples” of their $5 million budget to promote privatization. Charles Blahous, Bush’s point man on Social Security, is a former president of AWRS. The current director, Derrick Max, is the former government affairs director at the Cato Institute, where “he was instrumental in helping to advance Cato's presence in the national debate on Social Security reform.”
On Feb. 10, Edward Jones issued a statement saying that “it had decided not to renew its membership” in AWRS, in the wake of an AFL-CIO campaign to highlight the company’s support for privatization. On March 4, Waddell & Reed announced that it too had withdrawn its membership from AWRS, saying “the firm has a history of listening to its clients and being sympathetic and supportive of their issues.”
The SIA and ABA remain members of AWRS, as do Charles Schwab and Wachovia. On March 31, unions staged protests at more than 70 Schwab and Wachovia locations across the country to protest their membership in the pro-privatization alliance.
COMPASS was set up by AWRS, the Business Roundtable and the Financial Services Roundtable in 2002 to do outside-the-beltway public relations in favor of privatization.
COMPASS plans to spend up to $20 million on ads and “grassroots projects” to support privatization, with 90 percent of the funds channeled through an organization called Generations Together. Both COMPASS and AWRS are headed by Derrick Max, who works out of the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers.
In addition to ads targeting Washington insiders and voters in selected local markets, Generations Together is orchestrating pro-privatization op-eds and radio appearances in states where Bush is touring to promote his plan. CoMPASS also plans to use direct mail, door knocking and telephone calls to promote privatization.
In March, the Financial Services Forum announced it was withdrawing from the coalition because the group’s members “never really came to a consensus” on private accounts. Following the forum’s exit, COMPASS announced that its membership had expanded to 116 industry associations and advocacy groups. Though the list was padded with such groups as the “International Sanitary Supply Association,” it did include several high-profile financial industry lobbies, including the American Bankers Association, the American Insurance Association, America’s Community Bankers, the Bond Market Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and the Securities Industry Association.
What else is happening on this?
Representatives Boehner (R-OH) and Johnson (the names are priceless) had the Labor Department write threatening letter to AFL-CIO that they are breaking the law if they are using workers pension money to pay for anti-privatization campaigns. The AFL-CIO wasn't doing that of course - sending the letter was just a political move to threaten them and muddy the waters a bit.
Speaking of illegal though, Bush is using tax payer money to propogandize his plan, like playing pro-privatization messages while you wait on the phone for Social Security. The Democrats have the whole scoop recorded here.