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Attorney ripped paper for its story on Raytheon donations — readers offer counterarguments

The Raytheon logo is placed on the exterior of an exhibition hall ahead of the 53d International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in Paris on June 16, 2019.Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

It’s the corporation, not the shareholder, that wields the power

Mark Twain is often credited with having observed that “America has the best government money can buy.” That corporations, through political action committees and lobbying, can concentrate funds and use them to influence not only who runs for office but also what they do while in office is a profound insult to the concept of popular self-government on which our country was founded. A corporation is not a citizen; rather, it is a concentration of capital. Allowing this practice defeats the concept of one person, one vote.

While Harvey Silverglate (“Company has every right to support any politician it chooses,” Letters, Jan. 6) is correct that under present law only Raytheon’s shareholders can tell the corporation who and what to support, even that power is limited by the number of shares owned by any individual shareholder. This, too, gives an already privileged class a power that the majority of citizens lacks. This applies to all corporations, not just Raytheon.

In Raytheon’s case, even the small power of boycott cannot be applied, as it might with a consumer-focused enterprise, since the company’s primary customer is the US government.


David Schreiber


Paper didn’t overstep in bringing details of donations to light

In reply to the recent front-page report “Raytheon donates to vote deniers,” Harvey Silverglate writes that “it is not up to The Boston Globe nor any other organization or individual to tell Raytheon shareholders whom to support.” Furthermore, he states, “Corporations, and their shareholders, have an absolutely clear constitutional right to support any candidate for political office.”

I reread the original article, and I could not find any instance where the Globe is telling shareholders whom to support. I also do not think that the Globe questions Raytheon’s “constitutional right” to support any political candidate it wishes, no matter how “abhorrent that candidate’s views may be.” I do thank the Globe for bringing this matter to the readership’s attention as well as mentioning other large donors, including the American Bankers Association, Boeing, the Credit Union National Association, and Lockheed Martin, which continue to support politicians who promote the Big Lie.


Dal Coger


It’s a matter of theory vs. practice

In theory, Harvey Silverglate is correct that shareholders are responsible for the actions of public companies. But the difference between theory and practice is that, in theory, they are the same. In practice, managers of almost all public companies do not ask their shareholders where to make political donations, and it is very difficult for shareholders to force a say in such matters. In reality, shareholders are not deciding where to donate, and Silverglate is off-base to claim otherwise.

Timothy Wright


A free press doing its job

Harvey Silverglate says he was startled by a report in the Globe “casting aspersions” on a corporation “for having made contributions to politicians who are allied” with a particular candidate. Does he not realize that it is a newspaper’s job to print such details for those of us who want to know such important information? Besides, any good lawyer would argue that it’s the paper’s First Amendment right.

Alan Foulds