Dividends and Lawrence O’Donnell and freshman class

If you watch pundits on the process which goes on in Washington, one person who you may watch is Lawrence O’Donnell. Mr. O’Donnell was an aide to US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and the Staff Director for the Senate Finance Committee. He has a good understanding of how things get done and should work in Washington.

Recently, Mr. O’Donnell has been particlularly optimistic because of the midterms which changed the committee structure in the House of Representatives. During the first two years of President Trump’s term anyone who was deemed by the President as good would rarely hear a discouraging word about what they were doing. After the midterms, a new crop of Representatives came in with a wide knowledge how institutions work and can be accountable. In the committee hearings, the freshman Representatives receive 5 minutes to ask questions. This is the time to showcase to the folks back home what you do and can do. The process is the person at the committee has been asked multiple questions or been prepared about the issues and often prior to the hearing, they have met the Representative in their office so little should be new. It is just execution.

Some of the new freshman members have been able to stand out and hold people accountable for their and their companies or departments actions or inactions. If a Secretary really wants to change their departments to slim in down to doing just the basics, they have to explain why they choose to do so and why they believe the consequences of doing so is best for the average American. The freshman class of Representatives are holding the committee accountable.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, these are some of the most profitable companies in the land and generally we expect them to do a good job in their execution of their business plans. All types of issues will come up and sometimes they can be dismissed, but if changes are happening, what part are they playing. It is up to the company to decide what part and explain why they have chosen that path. It is helpful, if the CEO has someone or a group of reasonably independent directors to ask beforehand to ensure the path they are taking has been chosen for the good reasons. The freshman House of Representatives are making the House committees more accountable, how does your company maintain accountablity?

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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