Ten state financial officers sent a letter to AT&T’s Board of Directors, first seen by Breitbart News, claiming the company may be violating its fiduciary duty to its shareholders by discriminating against conservative news outlets.
As previously reported by Breitbart News, DirecTV, the video programming platform owned by AT&T, suspended service to Newsmax in January, cutting the conservative cable channel off from millions of American households after AT&T and other cable providers blacklisted OAN by refusing to renew its contract following pressure from leftist advocacy groups.
The state financial officers’ letter to the AT&T Board of Directors highlights many issues with AT&T’s decision, including a First Amendment violation, being subject to Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws in some states for allowing “the unabashedly left-wing channel Vice” over Newsmax, and possibly violating its fiduciary duty to shareholders.
“As fiduciaries to AT&T shareholders—including us—your duty is to ensure that the company maximizes profits and returns to shareholders,” the group wrote regarding the company violating its fiduciary duty to the shareholders. “Failure to renew contracts with OAN and Newsmax without a valid business justification would be a direct breach of this duty.”
The group noted that “OAN and Newsmax were highly rated channels” and claimed that it is “unlikely that DirecTV will be able to replace them with similarly rated content.” Additionally, the group acknowledged that it could discourage other content providers from contracting with DirecTV or asking for additional financial compensation at the risk of having their contracts terminated.
“Fostering the perception of left-wing political activism among subscribers and potential subscribers harms the brand value and goodwill of DirecTV. All of this erodes shareholder capital and prospects for future growth,” the group explained.
The letter also requests numerous documents from AT&T about the analysis and business justification that informed AT&T prior to contract negotiations as well as all communications between AT&T and any government official(s) regarding the decision.
The state financial officers on the letter include Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery, Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis, Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder, Nebraska Treasurer John Murante, Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ, Oklahoma Auditor Cindy Byrd, South Carolina Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis, Utah Treasurer Marlo Oaks, West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, and Wyoming Treasurer Curt Meier.
Letter to ATT Board of Directors – March 2023 by Breitbart News on Scribd
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.
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