Shareholders Prevail on Lobbying Disclosure at Alliant Techsystems
At today’s annual meeting, majority 65% vote in favor of ICCR-sponsored proposal on increased transparency on company’s state and federal lobbying activities.
NEW YORK, NY//July 31, 2013/// In an exceptionally high vote for a shareholder-sponsored proposal, today investors in Alliant Techsystems (ATK) an aerospace and defense contractor and gun manufacturer, voted in favor of a shareholder request for greater transparency on the company’s lobbying activities.
The proposal was filed by the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order who are members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of faith-based and socially responsible investors who have been engaging the defense sector on human rights and other issues of corporate responsibility for over 30 years - including the manufacture and selling of land mines. ATK is a major producer of large and small ammunition, missiles, warheads and “weaponized special mission aircraft.” ATK recently acquired the Caliber Company, the parent company of the Savage Sports Corporation for $315 million. Savage is one of the world’s largest and oldest arms manufacturers, specializing in shotguns and bolt-action rifles.
“ICCR members have been filing resolutions with defense contractors and weapons manufacturers practically since the organization’s inception in the 70s,” said Sr. Susan Mika of the Socially Responsible Investment Coalition. “We’ve seen too many recent episodes of violence involving guns to be complacent both in terms of national policy and corporate responsibility. We remain invested in these companies in the hopes of transforming their practices, including their aggressive lobbying against stricter gun control legislation.”
Said Fr. Michael Crosby, lead filer and ICCR board director, “Our province of Capuchin Franciscans has been very concerned for over a decade with some of the businesses of Alliant Tech, particularly land mines, as this is a weapon that continues to kill and maim innocent people around the world. This concern is only exacerbated when the company moves into guns and then lobbies heavily to thwart legislation that would regulate their use.”
ATK sits on the board of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Since 2011, this trade group has spent over $1.6 million in lobbying, reportedly ‘to defeat background checks, magazine limits, and the assault-weapons ban renewal’.
Continued Crosby, “As ATK shareholders we have maintained that we have a right to know how lobbying funds are being deployed to determine whether these activities are in alignment with our company’s stated mission and values. Today, our fellow shareholders made it clear that they are in agreement.”
ICCR members encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation, both directly and indirectly, as a question of good corporate governance. According to Senate reports, ATK spent approximately $2.92 million in 2011 and 2012 on direct federal lobbying activities yet ATK does not disclose its trade association memberships, payments or the portions used for lobbying on its website.
John Keenan of AFSCME who moved the resolution at the shareholder meeting on behalf of the Capuchins said “We believe such disclosure is in stockholders’ best interests because, absent any transparency, company assets could be used for objectives contrary to ATK’s long-term interests. Today’s investor vote is resounding confirmation that we are not alone in this belief.”
ICCR Director of Communications
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):
Currently celebrating its 42nd year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.