Peter Flaherty, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), had his microphone cut, arrested, and escorted out of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska.
Flaherty was removed at the shareholders’ meeting and was charged with “criminal trespass” after making statements against Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett for his support for Bill Gates’ organization and his association with convicted felon Jeffrey Epstein.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) is the primary proponent of a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder proposal that seeks to separate the responsibilities of the Chairman and CEO, according to NLPC’s press release.
Flaherty argued that Berkshire “would be less identified with Mr. Buffett’s personal political activities” if it had an independent chair, citing Warren Buffett’s support for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as an example.
Each resolution sponsor was allotted three minutes to make their argument. Michael Frerichs, the Treasurer of Illinois, was one of three speakers who spoke before Flaherty without being cut off.
The following is the prepared statement that NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty wants to make at the Berkshire annual meeting.
I am Peter Flaherty, Chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center.
If we had an independent chair, the Company would be less identified with Mr. Buffett’s political activities.
He’s donated more than $100 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As Bill Gates explained when the couple was still together, “although the foundation bears our names, basically half our resources have come from Warren Buffett.”
If “woke” culture is a disease, then philanthropy is the virus.
The Gates Foundation bankrolls the teaching of Critical Race Theory around the country, including that math is inherently racist.
The Gates Foundation offers a Gender Identity Toolbox, which asserts that gender is the result of “socially and culturally constructed ideas.”
This is a lie. Gender is not a cultural construct. It is a genetic and biological fact.
We know how much Bill Gates cares about children. He met and traveled with Jeffrey Epstein MANY times AFTER Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.
The Gates Foundation had a huge influence over the COVID response fiasco. Bill Gates defended China’s COVID policies and still discounts the possibility that the virus originated from a lab, even though U.S. intelligence agencies disagree.
The Gates Foundation may be the largest single donor to the “dark money” machine known as Arabella Associates which funds causes like defunding the police that are making American cities unlivable.
Money goes, too, to groups conducting threatening and vulgar protests at their homes of Supreme Court Justices.
Mr. Buffett has quietly funneled more than $4 billion to groups supporting abortion on demand through the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation.
That’s $4 billion, with a B. Advocacy disguised as philanthropy.
Bill Gates has lamented political polarization and even worried aloud about a civil war. But it is billionaires who are funding the most shrill and extreme activists who are tearing our country apart.
Ironically, Mr. Buffett has pointed out that corporate executives can make a lot of people mad when they insert themselves into controversy.
Anheuser-Busch is finding that out. It cannot renounce its Dylan Mulvaney transgender promotion because it is handcuffed by its longtime support for activists who would turn on them in a minute.
Anheuser-Busch gets a perfect grade on the Human Rights Campaign scorecard, as do Berkshire portfolio companies like Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Apple.
Bank of America and Apple help bankroll this group, which wants biological men to compete in women’s sports.
Worse, it is currently pressuring state legislatures to allow sex change operations on children, and to keep their parents out of the decision.
Let’s revisit Coca-Cola, which I discussed at last year’s meeting. CEO James Quincey, a British citizen, tried to kill Georgia’s voter integrity law in 2021 by making inaccurate and inflammatory statements about it.
That’s the law that President Brandon called “Jim Crow 2.0,” and which prompted Major League Baseball to move the All-Star game out of Atlanta.
Mr. Buffett jumped on the bandwagon, too, by signing a statement by corporate leaders suggesting that Republicans seek to restrict ballot access based on race.
Two years later, we can now evaluate that accusation.
Last year, an election was held in Georgia. Turnout was record breaking. According to an independent poll, 99% of voters said they had “no problem” casting ballots. 92% said the new law either had no impact on their ability to vote or made it easier.
James Quincey was wrong, and Mr. Buffett, so were you.
During the first minute of his speech, he was approached and interrupted at the microphone.
Cathy Woollums, a Berkshire official who was a designated liaison with proponents for the meeting told Flaherty that he should stay “on topic.”
Flaherty stated into the microphone, “You are not going to censor what I say, ma’am. I’m very sorry. And I appeal to the Chair (occupied by Buffett) that I be allowed to continue sir.
Buffett responded, “You may continue but under the three-minute limitation. Flaherty stated, “Of course,” and resumed speaking until when his mike went dead.
“We all know how much bill gates loves children, he’s been with Epstein…” at berkshire hathaway annual meeting. pic.twitter.com/q6KgjSKrLX
— Tykoo.eth (@0xTykoo) May 6, 2023
“Immediately, two representatives of Clark International Security approached and stood in front of Flaherty,” according to NLPC’s press release. “He was told to leave or he would be arrested. Flaherty replied that he would leave when he finished his statement. At this point, Flaherty was not fully aware that his mic had been cut, was still under the three-minute limitation, and had already received a favorable ruling from the chair.”
Flaherty was charged with criminal trespass by Omaha police.
“One of the Clark representatives summoned a uniformed Omaha policeman who was nearby and requested that he arrest Flaherty. He grabbed Flaherty by the arm, advised him that he was under arrest, and led him from the arena. Flaherty was transported by Omaha police to the Douglas County Corrections Center where he was searched, handcuffed, and charged with criminal trespass.”
Here is video of that speaker/shareholder, Peter Flaherty of National Legal and Policy Center, getting quickly escorted away to be arrested. Is this a free country or not?! #berkshire #gates #NLPC pic.twitter.com/zY7suyo3LO
— Sue (@Sue67374532) May 7, 2023
More from NLPC’s press release:
NLPC filed a similar proposal for an independent chair last year at Berkshire when Flaherty spoke in support of the resolution without incident. The proposal received support from diverse shareholders including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).
NLPC sponsors the Corporate Integrity Project and has engaged in shareholder activism since 2004. In 2023, NLPC is the proponent of proposals at 26 companies on a variety of topics.
NLPC-filed proposals for an independent chair were also considered, or will be considered, this year at Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Mondelez, PepsiCo, Salesforce, and Visa.
Since 2004, Flaherty has spoken at the annual meetings of dozens of companies including Alphabet, Amazon, Bank of America, Boeing, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Goldman Sachs, Merck, Facebook (now Meta), PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Walmart. In connection to NLPC proposals, he has met with many corporate executives over the years, including then-PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and then-GE CEO Jeff Immelt.