Reporter’s Notebook: Wells Fargo asked to distance itself from right-wing groups’ funder
February 15, 2016
Pro-choice, LGBTQ and other groups are pressuring Wells Fargo to address concerns about one of the bank’s top executives, Executive Vice President Jeffrey Grubb. In addition to his role at Wells Fargo, Jeffrey Grubb is a trustee of the Murdock Trust, an organization that funds a wide range of extreme, anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice and anti-worker groups.
Since 2000, the Murdock Charitable Trust has given more than $36 million to right wing groups, including the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Freedom Foundation.
Now two of the nation’s largest unions, — the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — are weighing in with letters to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf.
“The Wells Fargo Team Member Handbook makes clear to all employees, ‘… your professional and personal conduct can positively or negatively affect Wells Fargo’s reputation.’ Unfortunately, Mr. Grubb’s decision to align himself with a funder of these extreme groups exposes Wells Fargo to unnecessary reputational and financial risk and undermines the values I believe we share.” – Letter from AFSCME President Lee Saunders, February 9, 2016
“We have entrusted Wells Fargo with the hard earned assets of Teamster members that have been secured through years of collective bargaining. That is why I was shocked to learn that Wells Fargo’s Executive Vice President, Jeffrey Grubb, through his leadership role on the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, has helped finance the extremist Washington State-based ‘Freedom Foundation’ and supports its agenda to undermine the rights of workers and all citizens.” – Letter from Teamsters’ General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, February 3, 2016
Both letters reference the unions’ accounts at Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo’s headquarters in Seattle and Portland drew rallies and actions from local LGBTQ, labor union, and women’s health groups last month, protesting Wells Fargo Executive Vice President Jeffrey Grubb’s position with The Murdock Charitable Trust.
The Murdock Charitable Trust has supported so-called “pregnancy crisis centers,” groups that provide the harmful practice of gay conversion therapy, as well as anti-worker groups including the Freedom Foundation.