Election Spending

The Center for Political Accountability and its allies, a wide variety of institutional investors, are continuing the campaign begun in 2003. Nineteen of the resolutions are resubmissions (one is not public).


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Bruce Freed
President, Center for Political Accountability

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Dan Carrol
Director of Programs, Center for Political Accountability

SHAREHOLDERS EXPAND POLITICAL DISCLOSURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY EFFORT AS 2020 ELECTIONS HEIGHTEN COMPANY RISKS


As the 2020 campaign heats up, public
companies face much greater risk from
political spending. The 2018 elections provided a foretaste of what companies can expect when contributions associate them with candidates who make questionable remarks or take positions that conflict with companies’ core values and positions.


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The standard CPA proposal, which has not been changed for several years, asks 57 companies to produce a report, with semiannual updates, on:

  1. Policies and procedures for making, with corporate funds or assets, contributions and expenditures(direct and indirect)to(a)participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, or (b) influence the general public, or any segment thereof, with respect to an election or referendum.

  2. Monetary and non-monetary contributions and expenditures (direct and indirect) used in the manner described in section 1 above, including:

  1. The identity of the recipient as well as the amount paid to each; and

  2. The title(s) of the person(s) in the Company responsible for decision-making.

Withdrawals: In a departure from its previous stance, General Electric agreed to publicly disclose the non-deductible portion of its annual payments to any trade association that receives dues and other payments totaling over $50,000 annually. In addition, it will also begin semi-annual disclosure of “social welfare” group contributions. The moves persuaded Investor Voice to withdraw the proposal. The Unitarians also have withdrawn at Valero after a challenge in which the company argued the proposal was moot because of its policy on political activity, and false and misleading because the proposal inaccurately stated, among other things, that its trade association payments are undisclosed whereas the company actually discloses them.