New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today a shareholder agreement with media and technology company Comcast Corp. to disclose political spending made with corporate funds. In December, as trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund), DiNapoli filed a shareholder resolution calling for the company to make public its political spending. The new agreement resulted in a withdrawal of the resolution. As of March 14, the Fund owned 7,885,555 shares of Comcast valued at $383.7 million
“In light of the recent Supreme Court decisions governing political contributions, it’s more important than ever that shareholders continue to call for greater transparency when it comes to political spending,” DiNapoli said. “As one of Comcast’s largest shareholders, we applaud the company for agreeing to disclose corporate political spending. The Fund will continue to engage with companies and shine the light on the use of corporate resources to influence the political process.”
The agreement outlines the company’s policy to disclose all money used for electoral political purposes including contributions to political candidates and parties, as well as payments used for political campaigns to trade associations and political action committees.
“The New York State Common Retirement Fund continues its leadership on one of today’s leading issues – corporate political disclosure. The agreement with Comcast commits the company to comprehensive disclosure and board oversight of its political spending and covers the critical areas of election-related contributions to trade associations and other groups,” said Bruce F. Freed, president of the Washington D.C.- based Center for Political Accountability.
Since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, the Fund has filed resolutions with 52 New York State Common Retirement Fund portfolio companies to disclose corporate political spending. To date, the Fund has reached disclosure agreements with 21 of them including Qualcomm Inc., Marriot International Inc. and PepsiCo Inc.
Below is a complete listing of the companies with whom the New York State Common Retirement Fund has reached disclosure agreements.
Southwest Airlines Co.
Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Noble Energy Inc.
Reynolds American Inc.
R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company
The Kroger Co.
Yum! Brands Inc.
Marriott International Inc.