Companies Voter Rights

FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, smiles as he plays bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. A multitude of big-name businesses and high-profile individuals, including Buffett, Amazon and Facebook are showing their support for voters’ rights. In a letter published in The New York Times, the group stressed that Americans should be allowed to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice. “For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us,” they wrote. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Hundreds of America’s most influential companies and executives, many with Missouri ties, signed a statement Wednesday opposing voter restrictions.

Warren Buffett, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, was among the signatories. The company has a presence in St. Joseph.

“Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy,” the statement reads. “And we call upon all Americans to take a nonpartisan stand for this basic and most fundamental right of all Americans.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., reacted to the statement in an interview with News-Press NOW on Wednesday.

“I think that’s wrong, I think it’s a problem,” Hawley said. “We’ve seen it before in this country when these corporations get really big and powerful. They try to exert political control. And ultimately, they try to stop the democratic process.”

Other major companies like Target, Amazon and Starbucks also signed. The statement was published as a full page advertisement in papers like the Washington Post.

Hawley took aim at some of those companies, whose executives attended a Zoom call over the weekend to discuss restrictive voting laws.

“It’s dangerous to have corporations trying to exert political control,” Hawley said. “And the answer to this is trust-busting. We need to bust up these corporations, bust up these giant monopolies and make them accountable.”

Hawley introduced a bill, dubbed the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” that he told News-Press NOW would limit the power of large corporations. The bill would force the breakup of certain companies like Amazon, who would no longer be able to own both a digital platform where they sell goods and cloud computing services.

“No more mergers between the biggest banks, biggest pharma companies, the biggest tech companies,” Hawley said. “This would make Amazon choose. You can’t have monopoly control in multiple different areas. The same would apply to Google and Facebook.”

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.

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