Unchecked corporate cash in the form of political donations and lobbying expenditures has the power to exert undue influence over public policy and regulatory systems and threaten our democracy. Yet in spite of this power, most S&P 500 companies lack a formal system of lobbying oversight and don't fully disclose how monies are being spent, particularly through third-party organizations like trade associations. Investors are concerned that lobbying expenditures may inadvertently be diverted to groups advancing agendas contrary to the stated missions of companies, setting up potential conflicts of interest and exposing companies to reputational risk.
Featured ICCR Initiative
Public reporting of corporate lobbying and political expenditures. Led by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Walden Asset Management, ICCR members and other responsible investors are attempting to shine a light on corporate lobbying and political spending policies. Faith-based investors have filed shareholder resolutions with 19 companies. These proposals ask companies to disclose oversight policies and details around political donations and lobbying initiatives, including through trade associations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heartland Institute which spend heavily on ad campaigns designed to undercut regulations.
Shining a Light on Corporate Dark Money. From the Corporate Examiner. Investors are calling on the SEC to pass a formal rule mandating disclosure of corporate political contributions.