Corporate Political Spending: A Resource
The 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.
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:
This website will be updated regularly. Please check back often. If you would like to contact the Committee, please click here.
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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.
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