Corporate Political Spending: A Resource

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Eight members of The Conferece Board Committee on Corporate Political Spending were recognized for their leadership in political spending governance by the 2013 CPA-Zicklin Index. To learn more about the policies and practicies of the committee members, click on the member logos on this page or visit the committee member page.
(Note: Campbell Soup Company was not included in the index's reviews, which focused on the top 200 companies in the S&P500.)

Corporate Political Spending: Policies and Practices, Accountability, and DisclosureThe Committee on Corporate Political Spending is pleased to announce the release of their report, Corporate Political Spending: Policies and Practices, Accountability, and Disclosure.

Designed to complement The Conference Board Handbook on Corporate Political Activity: Emerging Corporate Governance Issues, the report is intended to help corporations deepen their understanding of issues related to their involvement in the political process and to offer a variety of approaches for political spending, disclosure, and accountability. Its goals are to inform, not to instruct, and to highlight viable options and examples of what other companies have done, not to advocate a specific agenda or point of view.

You can download the report* or request a hard copy by emailing the committee.

The Issue

With the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, and the 2012 elections, which proved to be the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history, public corporations are under increasing pressure and scrutiny by shareholders, the media, and the public for their corporate political activity. Shareholder proposals on the topic, which made up over half of the social and environmental proposals in 2012, focus on disclosure of corporate treasury funds used for political ends. Increasingly, trade association and non-profit membership, and lobbying are being included.

While 2004 to 2011 saw a rise in the average shareholder support for political spending proposals, 2012 saw a drop in support for the proposals for the first time. This is perhaps an indication that companies have put in place policies that shareholders feel adequately oversee the company's political activity. Yet, as The Conference Board Sustainability Practices: 2012 Edition shows, "only seven percent of the companies in the Russell 3000 and 13 percent of those in the S&P500...[disclose] to shareholders the amount of their donations to political groups, parties, and individuals involved in general or local elections or the legislative process."

In The Conference Board 2010 report, Handbook on Corporate Political Activity, corporate participation in the political process is described as "an important and essential means of enhancing shareholder value, strengthening corporate reputation and goodwill, and engaging in good corporate citizenship." To build on the groundwork laid by the 2010 report and to assist companies that are thinking through the issue of corporate political spending, The Conference Board has convened a committee of leading American corporations to explore the issue of using corporate treasury funds in election-related activity.

The Committee on Corporate Political Spending has adopted the following mission statement:

The Conference Board Committee on Corporate Political Spending is a committee of leading American corporations dedicated to accountability, disclosure, education, and engagement on issues of corporate political activity.

Learn more about corporate political spending:

The Committee's Report

Background

Shareholder Activity

Emerging Practices

Additional Resources

Upcoming Events

The 2012 Corproate Political Spending Conference

The 2011 Symposium on Corporate Political Spending

This website will be updated regularly. Please check back often. If you would like to contact the Committee, please click here.

 

 *Complimentary registration required.

Note: The Committee and these pages limit their scope to corporate political spending, direct and indirect. Lobbying expenditures are not addressed. For more information on the Committee on Corporate Political Spending, please click here.

The Conference Board does not represent that the data, information, analysis, conclusions or opinions provided by the listed Internet resources are correct or complete.  The Web sites and resources listed above are included for informational purposes and convenience only, and are not affiliated with, endorsed or recommended by The Conference Board.

Committee Members

Altria Group, Inc. Campbell Soup Company
Exelon Corporation General Electric
Merck Microsoft Corporation

Prudential Financial, Inc.

The Coca Cola Company

Learn more about the Committee

Download the Committee's Report

You can now download the Committee's Report, Corporate Political Spending: Policies and Practices, Accountability, and Disclosure.

Complimentary registration required.

Download the report

Handbook on Corporate Political Activity

This handbook offers an overview of the legal rules and standard practices related to political activity, as well as a discussion of internal oversight of political spending.

Download the report

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