Investors press for disclosure on lobbying

As part of a 2013 proxy season initiative, shareholder resolutions have been filed with more than 50 companies by more than 65 institutional and individual investors. The resolutions call on companies to annually report their federal and state lobbying, including any payments to trade associations used for lobbying, as well as support for tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation. Investors will continue to file resolutions on the issue in the 2014 proxy season, as they believe that shareholders need better, more complete disclosure of how the companies in which they invest use resources to influence both elections and legislation.

The lobbying disclosure initiative is a natural extension of ongoing shareholder efforts for greater corporate political spending, transparency, and accountability. Specifically, enhanced lobbying disclosure will enable shareholders to better evaluate whether a company’s lobbying expenditures and actions advance the company’s interests, and whether they present risks to company value.