The Corner

Economy & Business

Some Corporations Fight, Some Cave

You’d think banks were in business to make money. From customers. By facilitating the operations of small businesses. You’d be right, except if you’re talking about Wells Fargo. Get this: KnifeNews.com reported earlier this month that a Nevada-based manufacturer of sharp things, Hogue Inc., was informed by the banking giant that it would refuse to provide Hogue with services because it manufactured weapons.

Our friends at the Daily Signal followed up on this story and received confirmation from Wells Fargo spokeswoman Angenette Maniego Lau: “For those retailers that sell weapons, firearms, related accessories, and ammunition online, we do not offer payment services due to the risks associated with processing these transactions.”

The PC infection of American corporations is not new, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t irk when you see it in practice, and maybe all the more so with Wells Fargo: If it were not for guns, if it were not for weapons and firearms, if it were not for men riding (literally) “shotgun” on their stagecoaches throughout the Wild West in the last half of the 19th century, there would be no Wells Fargo bank in existence now to deny services to knife manufacturers, or anyone else who makes and trades in legal and necessary products.

(Wondering: Is someone in Hollywood rewriting lyrics for The Music Man, because on that “Wells Fargo Wagon” that’s “a-comin’ down the street,” well, I hate to remind them, but “the D.A.R. have sent a cannon for the courthouse square.”)

On the flip side, you can’t help but notice and cheer a corporation fighting the Left rather than caving. On many an occasion I have written about Chevron’s refreshing and determined fight against green extremists who plotted to turn the oil Giant into a de-facto ATM machine by crafting a fraudulent claim that the company (via its predecessor, Texaco) wreaked environmental havoc in Ecuador. In these situations, the Left’s expectation — and why shouldn’t they expect it — is to spawn a P.R. nightmare that in turns spawns a major cash settlement, said cash to be used to line the pockets of the activists themselves and to bankroll their expanding nefarious schemes.

Chevron, an advertiser here (God bless them!) refused to play that game. It has fought back, it has won, it has won big, in many a legal jurisdiction, and just again: Last week the legal guru behind the shakedown, New York lawyer Steven Donziger, lost his appeal of a 2014 RICO finding when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unanimously upheld a federal judge’s ruling that he and his associates committed extortion, laundered money, engaged in wire fraud, tampered with witnesses, obstructed justice, and violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as they tried to fleece Chevron.

Good. No, great. Of course, what would be greater is if the Obama Justice Department and the New York federal prosecutor will file criminal RICO charges against Donziger et al. That would surely have been done if the shoe were on the right foot. But let’s not lose sleep waiting for Preet Barara or Loretta Lynch to act appropriately.

Related to this: There’s no proof but I’d wager Chevron’s moxie inspired Exxon to fight back against a politically motivated and orchestrated effort led by Democratic attorneys general to investigate the company’s alleged culpability in creating (alleged) global warming and (allegedly) knowing about the (alleged) science decades ago, and failing to take any (alleged) remedial actions.

Keep fighting, Chevron and Exxon. As for Wells Fargo: If I were a conservative customer who owned a small business, I’d be taking mine elsewhere.

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