On March 22, 2017 IRRC is hosting a webinar on its new report with shocking new information on the undisclosed corporate political expenditures at the state level:
Join us to review the latest research from the IRRC Institute, “How Leading U.S. Corporations Govern and Spend on State Lobbying”, conducted by the Sustainable Investments Institute.
This research reveals virtually no disclosure of corporate expenditures related to political lobbying activities at the state level. Even at the federal level, only 25 percent of companies have board-level policies on lobbying and only 12 percent disclose actual spending.
A summary of the findings:
Just one-quarter of the S&P 500 have board-level policies regarding lobbying. However, this is an increase from only 16 percent in 2013. (Chart, p. 9, shows corporate governance trends.)
By contrast, company oversight and disclosure of election spending is commonplace among the largest American companies, with 90 percent of the S&P 500 having a policy that addresses election contributions and half of the index companies specifically requiring board oversight. Further, 75 percent of the S&P 500 explains which corporate officials oversee election spending.
The contrast between the level of disclosure about election spending and lobbying is stark. Only 12 percent of S&P 500 companies report how much they spend on lobbying; most only report on spending at the federal level. Voluntary disclosure about state lobbying on company websites is nearly non-existent: Just two companies report appear to report on all their state
expenditures, while 5 percent identify the states where lobbying occurs but not the amounts spent, and 2 percent report on aggregate state spending.
Companies are revealing more about how much they spend in elections and lobbying but remain reticent about disclosing how much they give to intermediary groups that use corporate money to pursue political objectives—trade associations, non-profit “social welfare” organizations or charities that have clear partisan goals. These intermediaries pursue their goals
at all levels of government through election spending and lobbying. Half of the S&P 500 have some sort of policy on these groups, up from only 14 percent in 2010; and 31 percent of companies make public at least some of their payments to these groups, a three-fold increase from just 9 percent in 2010. Yet most policies are about money in elections, not lobbying.
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