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“The level of risk companies face from political spending has grown exponentially. New policies, including a code of conduct for political spending, are required to guide their decision-making and risk-evaluation as they consider how their spending impacts their companies, society and our democracy.”
– ICCR Member Bruce Freed of the Center for Political Accountability
"Companies face reputational risk when they publicly promote one position while their trade associations actively promote an opposite position. The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 offers a fresh example of the seriousness of these risks when the press quickly and forcefully called out corporations that had supported the legislators who, under false pretenses, failed to certify the 2020 Presidential election."
– Tim Smith, ICCR's Senior Policy Advisor
“While companies may perceive a short-term gain from funneling money to elected officials, the reputational risk that they face and, more critically, the corrosive effect on democracy of corporate money in politics should give them pause.”
– Josh Zinner, ICCR CEO

Corporations spend millions of dollars each year to influence U.S. legislative and regulatory systems to the benefit of their businesses. Absent adequate oversight, corporate political donations to legislators and lobbying activities may exert an outsized influence over our democratic institutions to the disadvantage of voters. Through their memberships in trade associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, and their donations to Super PACs, 527 committees, “social welfare” organizations, and model legislation group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporations have an outsized voice on many issues impacting the public interest. Without adequate oversight, these political activities run the risk of disenfranchising voters, damaging democratic structures and, when these activities conflict with a company’s stated mission and values, causing reputational damage to participating companies.

To avoid these risks, ICCR members argue for full transparency, robust oversight structures, and policies to govern corporate political activities.

Current Initiatives:

Through a combination of dialogue and the filing shareholder resolutions, ICCR’s members are pressing these companies to do their due diligence with regards to their political spending, and enhance their public disclosures.

Our Impact

How ICCR is pressing companies to disclose their “dark money” spending to influence U.S. and global legislative and political systems.


Shareholder proposals withdrawn for corporate commitments in 2023: AT&T, Charles River Laboratories, Disney, EOG Resources, MasterCard, ServiceNow, and UPS.

20 %

Average vote for all political spending and lobbying proposals that went to a vote in the 2023 proxy season.

31 %

The percent of 2023 political spending and lobbying proposals that went to a vote winning votes of 25% or greater.

Corporate Political Responsibility Staff Contacts

To learn more about our program, reach out to our staff:

Tim Smith, Senior Policy Advisor

Tim supports ICCR’s work around responsible political engagement.



Corporate Political Responsibility Resources

Publications, blogs, investor statements, comment letters, webinar recordings and press releases related to investor action on corporate political responsibility.


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Guide to Corporate Political Spending

To help public companies navigate the challenges and risks of spending to influence elections in a turbulent political era, CPA issued this practical checklist

Leading Lobbying Practices to Drive 1.5C Policy Action

The need to reduce GHG emissions to limit warming and reach net zero by 2050 or sooner has never been more urgent yet climate progress has been hindered for decades by aggressive lobbying on the part of corporations (mainly in the oil & gas sector) and their trade associations. Because investors understand that corporate climate […]

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Responsible Policy Engagement Analysis 2022

This CERES report examines the climate-related risk management, governance and lobbying practices of S&P 100 companies. It finds that the nation’s largest publicly traded companies are increasingly lobbying for policies that will help the U.S. achieve its commitments under the Paris Agreement. However, very few are publicly reckoning with the role of their own trade associations […]

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The Erb Principles for Corporate Political Responsibility

The Principles were created by the Corporate Political Responsibility Taskforce at the Erb institute at the University of Michigan, in a multi-stakeholder process involving corporate executives, business networks and stakeholders from across the political spectrum. They offer an actionable, non-partisan template to help companies determine whether and how to engage in civic and political affairs […]

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Hollow Policies

Report from the Center for Political Accountability showing that 75 leading public companies undercut their climate change commitments through conflicted Political spending

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Practical Stake: Corporations, Political Spending and Democracy

A report from the Center for Political Accountability. The political spending of companies too often does not fall in line with their public commitments. There are companies giving millions of dollars to a partisan political group closely tied to robocalls one day before Jan. 6, 2021

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Conflicted Consequences

A report from the Center for Political Accountability. The political spending of American corporations. Our democracy is being distorted by huge flows ofmoney, most of it directed by an ultra-wealthy few. As the Center’s analysis makes clear, these flows are not equally transparent, and the least transparent are likely to be the most reflective of […]

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The Responsible Lobbying Framework

The Responsible Lobbying Framework was developed initially to allow a group of Civil Society Organizations to hold accountable their corporate partners during a dialogue process. The specific terms of that dialogue remain confidential, but all parties agreed that the Framework should have a wider use and provided a valuable tool to increase transparency and accountability. […]