New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that five Fortune 500 companies – Coca-Cola Enterprises, Raytheon, Waste Management, Union Pacific and Centerpoint Energy – have agreed to the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (Fund) request that they publicly report all direct and indirect corporate political spending.
As a result of the agreement, the Fund withdrew shareholder proposals it had filed for consideration at each company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.
“Investors have the legal right to know how corporate dollars are being spent in the political arena,” DiNapoli said. “These companies should be commended for agreeing to voluntarily disclose their political expenditures. Transparency is vital for investors to determine whether corporate political spending benefits a company’s long-term value.”
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010, DiNapoli has made it a priority to engage the Fund’s portfolio companies to disclose their political spending. The Fund’s proposal asks companies for a comprehensive and public report that lists their spending on candidates, political parties, ballot measures, any direct or indirect state and federal lobbying, payments to any trade associations used for political purposes, and payments made to any organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
DiNapoli and the Fund currently have a political disclosure proposal pending at eight other portfolio companies: Aetna Inc.; Express Scripts Holding Co.; Johnson & Johnson; NextEra Energy Inc.; Nisource Inc.; The Travelers Companies Inc.; Western Union Co.; and Wynn Resorts.
The following 32 companies have adopted or agreed to adopt political spending disclosure procedures with the Fund or after a significant shareholder vote in support of the Fund’s proposal:
Coca Cola Enterprises
CF Industries (2014 agreement followed 66% support in 2013 vote)
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
Noble Energy Inc.
Plum Creek Timber Company Inc.
Southwest Airlines Co.
The Kroger Co.
Reynolds American, Inc.
R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company
Marriott International Inc.
Yum! Brands Inc.
About the New York State Common Retirement Fund
The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the third largest public pension fund in the United States with estimated assets of $178.3 billion as of Dec. 31, 2015. The Fund holds and invests the assets of the New York State and Local Retirement System on behalf of more than one million state and local government employees and retirees and their beneficiaries. The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments.