The Conference Board Governance Center Blog


2012 is the Year of Corporate Political Spending

It seems that no matter where you turn on the web these days, there is mention of Citizens United. Two years later, this is still an issue of focus for companies, shareholders, and increasingly, the SEC. The Conference Board has been looking at this issue too since the 2010 Handbook on Corporate Political Activity.

So with the news last week that Commissioner Luis Aguilar gave a speech on the topic, we wanted to gather a few of the latest stories on corporate political spending for our readers.

Regarding Commissioner Aguilar’s speech, delivered at the February 24 Practicing Law Institute’s SEC Speaks in 2012 Program and titled Shining a Light on Expenditures of Shareholder Money, many will be trying to read into what Commissioner Aguilar said and what it means for SEC action.

And Commissioner Aguilar’s speech took place amid an active proxy season in which political spending proposals were among the most popular proposals. A recent report from As You Sow, titled Proxy Preview 2012, covers the proposals in some detail. Key highlights include:

  • 47 companies have the 2012 CPA model resolution pending
  • 40 companies have received the lobbying proposal
  • All told, there were 109 proposals filed in 2012, making up 31% of Social and Environmental proposals

If you are interested in details on the political spending proposals this year, including the lobbying proposals, or in any social/environmental proposals for that matter, Proxy Preview 2012 is worth a read.

Clearly, this is a key issue to watch through this proxy season and we will almost certainly hear about each of the results. With The Conference Board’s new partnership with FactSet, we’ll strive to keep you posted here.

For more background, see the following articles:

More Shareholders Demanding Corporate Political Transparency, Corporate Counsel Magazine – March 6, 2012

Aguilar Calls for Transparency in Corporate Political Spending, Compliance Week  – March 5, 2012

Shareholders Want Political Spending Transparency, NPR – February 28, 2012

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One Response to “2012 is the Year of Corporate Political Spending”

  1. [...] Conference Board – 2012 is the Year of Corporate Political Spending highlights Commissioner Aguilar’s speech, Shining a Light on Expenditures of Shareholder [...]

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