Larry Kudlow’s Anti-Gay Mutual Funds
Larry Kudlow sits on the Advisory board of Ave Maria Mutual Funds. According to his bio on the Ave Maria website, “Mr. Kudlow is CEO of Kudlow & Co., LLC, an economic and investment research firm. In addition to being a noted economist, he is an author, a nationally syndicated columnist, contributing editor of National Review magazine and host of CNBC’s ‘The Kudlow Report.’ Mr. Kudlow served as associate director of economics and planning during President Reagan’s first term and was a member of the Bush-Cheney Transition Advisory Committee. He has also testified as an expert witness on economic matters before several congressional committees.”
His credentials and influence well established; Mr. Kudlow’s involvement on an advisory board that openly, and actively, discriminates based on sexual orientation is disconcerting, to say the least. The fact that a publicly traded fund should be able to do this is even more alarming.
Ave maria Funds states its method of operation as;
“Every stock and bond we consider must first meet the strict financial criteria set by our experienced team of portfolio managers and analysts at Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc., adviser for Ave Maria Mutual Funds. The Firm was established in 1980, and is a registered investment adviser dedicated to helping our clients reach their investment goals. If a security seems attractively priced to our analysts and portfolio managers, then, the company is screened based on the moral criteria.
The distinguished Catholic Advisory Board, guided by the Magisterium of the Church, sets the criteria for screening out companies based on religious principles. They actively seek the advice and counsel of Catholic clergy in making these determinations.
Using a proprietary moral screening process, companies eliminated from investment consideration would, in general, encompass two major categories: first, those involved in the practice of abortion, and second, companies whose policies are judged to be anti-family, such as companies that produce or distribute pornography or whose policies undermine the Sacrament of Marriage.
George Schwartz, of Schwartz investment counsel, discussing morally responsible investing on the television program ‘World Over’, an EWTN production, stated that what the company applies is a preference rule, not a hard screen. According to Mr. Schwartz, it used to be a hard screen, meaning they would absolutely never invest in companies that do not share their discriminatory views, but because so many companies were now offering same-sex benefits they had to change their policy to a less stringent preference rather than a hard screen. The preference rule leaves them the ability to do business with a company that pays benefits to same sex partners if it is their only way to make a profit; ensuring investors that their investments are generally theologically guilt free, but not to the point where it would actually harm their bottom line.
According to Mr Schwartz, the goal is to influence corporate behavior, and therefore social issues, by demanding that companies wishing investments from these funds follow the doctrines of the Catholic Church. The Funds’ religious standards are overseen by a Catholic Advisory Board, including Mr. Kudlow, which follows the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. Each member is to be familiar with its basic tenets and core doctrine. The Advisory Board meets regularly to review the Funds’ moral standards and criteria.
Ave Maria Funds, Advised by Larry Kudlow and six others, and managed by Schwartz Investment Counsel, will not serve the investment needs of any companies that do not discriminate against homosexuals and same-sex marriages, unless there are no options available, and their profit margin is threatened.
So, if two investment ‘opportunities’ walk into a diner called Ave Maria, which has a management that includes advisor Larry Kudlow, manager George Schwartz, and advisor Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop Emeritus of Detroit, and one of those investment opportunities paid benefits to same-sex partners, the Ave Maria Diner, and its management, would only serve the other ‘opportunity’ that agrees with them and their discrimination against homosexuals and same-sex marriages.
However, The diner and its management leave themselves some policy room in order to make a profit, by not putting a ‘no gay-friendly customers’ sign on the door. This way, if only one customer comes in, and that customer doesn’t engage in the same discriminatory practices they do, they can still serve that customer based on a profit over theology clause they’ve allowed themselves. What a wonderful ‘discrimination of convenience’ system they’ve established.
It’s become apparent that the rules that apply to the rest of society seem to have no place, and certainly no respect, on Wall Street. Obviously the same disregard shown to laws and regulations governing exploitation, fraud, and theft, has been extended to principles of civil rights and civil liberties. I’m sure that someone will attempt to present an explanation as to why this discrimination is more acceptable, or somehow more legal, than any other, but there is no excuse for this particular ‘bottom line’; discrimination is discrimination, and wrong is wrong.
We dealt with these principles in 1964, it’s time for Kudlow, Schwartz, Ave Maria et al., and perhaps Wall Street in general to catch up.