Should GovCon firms join the fight against voting restrictions? — Washington Technology

Bizar Male
Nick Wakeman

Should GovCon firms join the fight against voting restrictions?

Several companies with strong ties to the federal market are among the hundreds of large businesses who signed their names onto a statement opposing legislation that would put restrictions on voting.

Georgia, so far, is the only state to enact a law that would tighten election regulations, which critics say would unfairly affect minorities and other groups who have historically faced barriers at the ballot box.

Many other states are considering similar legislation and this statement organized by the Black Economic Alliance is designed to put pressure on those states to not follow Georgia’s lead.

The move to change voting regulations has been fed by false claims over voter fraud pushed by many in the Republican Party and led by former President Donald Trump. It was those false claims that fueled the Capitol Hill riots of Jan. 6.

No pure-play, publicly-traded government contracting firms signed the letter. Those companies derive more than 90 percent of their annual revenue from federal contracts.

But there are companies with significant business in the federal market that did sign:

  • Accenture
  • Alphabet (parent of Google)
  • Amazon
  • Cisco
  • Dell
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • Deloitte
  • IBM
  • Salesforce
  • ServiceNow
  • VMware

A large number of law firms also signed and many of these are active in the federal market, practicing both contract law as well as advising on mergers and acquisitions:

  • Arnold & Porter
  • Covington & Burling
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Holland & Knight
  • McGuireWoods
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Venable 

I’ve reached out to the alliance to learn about the process they used to gather these signatures. There is a good chance they were never approached. I’ll update this post if I learn more.

But a legitimate question is whether government contracting firms should sign such a statement in the first place.

I think that whether signing or not signing, companies today are being pushed from many sources including their own employees to take a stand on issues in ways they never have before.

Leaders need to consider that. Do they take a stand as a company? Or do they not, but create an atmosphere where individual employees can and are supported? Where do you get involved and where don’t you?

Many are skeptical of corporations playing a leadership role in politics. The perception is that profit motives are what drives them above any altruistic motivation. That could be true in some instances, but in today’s world companies can’t ignore issues that so directly impact their employees and customers.

The thing to wrestle with is how to respond. But not responding probably isn’t a choice anymore.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 14, 2021 at 12:18 PM

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