Report on Lobbying and Political Spending Activity:
For some companies, the board risk report shareholder resolution included board level oversight of political activity, including both political spending and lobbying activities, as part of the topics to be covered in the board report to investors. For others, resolutions may have been filed for enhanced transparency for either political spending or lobbying activities.
For both types of political activities, IOA investors made the case that board oversight of disclosure helps to safeguard corporate reputation and protect shareholder value. For political spending, we seek annual reporting on board oversight of political contributions to political parties, campaigns and media related activities. The company should also commit to produce an annual lobbying disclosure report that includes federal and state lobbying payments, payments to trade associations used for lobbying, and payments to and membership in any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
With specific reference to opioids, we urge the board to adopt a policy that the company will refrain from making dues, sponsorship or other payments to patient advocacy groups and medical professional organizations that engage in political activity that is not aligned with the company’s stated values and objectives regarding the opioid epidemic. In 2018, the IOA’s lobbying transparency resolution received support of 39% of shareholders at McKesson. All of the board risk reports currently disclosed include reference to board oversight of corporate political and lobbying expenditures.
For 2019, an IOA resolution is filed at Mallinckrodt calling for expanded lobbying disclosure.