(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Thomas P. DiNapoli and received via electronic mail. The release
was confirmed by the sender.)
Contact: Eric Sumberg, 212-681-4840
April 9, 2013
DiNAPOLI REACHES AGREEMENT WITH FIVE COMPANIES
TO DISCLOSE POLITICAL SPENDING
Eighteen Agreements Reached Over Three Years
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today
that he has reached agreement with five Fortune 500 companies,
Southwest Airlines, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plum Creek Timber
Company, Harley-Davidson and Noble Energy, to disclose political
spending made with corporate funds.
“Shareholders have a right to know how companies are using
corporate money for political purposes,” DiNapoli said. “These
companies deserve credit for embracing transparency and reducing
potential risk to shareholder value by disclosing direct and
indirect contributions made with corporate funds. To date,
eighteen companies have reached agreements with the New York
State Common Retirement Fund to disclose their political
spending -- it’s time for more good corporate citizens to follow
All five agreements on disclosure of political spending include
commitments to make public all direct and indirect monetary and
non-monetary political contributions, including contributions to
trade associations that are used
for political purposes.
Through his Office of Corporate Governance, DiNapoli has engaged
portfolio companies held by the New York State Common Retirement
Fund (Fund) to disclose political spending. In 2010, the Fund,
along with other members of the Council of Institutional
Investors, sent letters to 430 S&P 500
companies calling on them to disclose contributions made with
corporate funds for political purposes.
In 2011 and 2012, the Fund filed 27 shareholder resolutions
seeking disclosure of political spending, reaching agreement
with 10 companies. For 2013, DiNapoli has filed 26 resolutions
on the issue of political spending disclosure, reaching
agreement with eight companies, including KeyCorp and
PepsiCo (see full list below).
Last year, the Comptroller DiNapoli wrote to the Securities and
Exchange Commission supporting a petition for rulemaking
regarding disclosure of political expenditures. In March,
Comptroller DiNapoli and New York City Public Advocate Bill de
Blasio penned an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times
urging incoming SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White to take up this
issue once she is confirmed.
In mid-February, the Fund and telecommunications giant Qualcomm
announced that the company had agreed to settle a lawsuit
brought by the Fund in the Delaware Court of Chancery which
sought to compel it to disclose how shareholder funds were being
spent for political purposes. As a result of
that settlement, Qualcomm revealed previous political spending
and agreed to disclose future use of corporate funds for
As of March 28, the Fund owned:
2,221,207 shares of Southwest Airlines valued at $29.9 million
626,150 shares of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group valued at $29.4
million 500,250 shares of Plum Creek Timber Company valued at
$26.1 million 821,912 shares of Harley-Davidson valued at $43.8
million 543,850 shares of Noble Energy valued at $62.9 million
Companies that have agreed to disclose their political spending:
Yum! Brands Inc.
Marriott International Inc.
Reynolds American Inc.
R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company
The Kroger Co.
Southwest Airlines Co.
Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Noble Energy Inc.
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.