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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
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State Comptroller DiNapoli Calls on Corporations to Disclose Political Spending

Shareholder Proposals Filed at Nine Corporations, Including Coca-Cola and Zoom, Ask for Disclosure of Political Spending

January 6, 2023

On the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the filing of shareholder proposals that call on seven corporations in the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (the Fund) portfolio to disclose their direct and indirect spending on political causes and on two others to adopt a new policy before contributing to the political activities of third-party organizations.

“The divisiveness in American political discourse has magnified significant risks for corporations that contribute to political causes. It raises the question of whether any corporate political donations are in shareholders’ interests,” DiNapoli said. “At a minimum companies should voluntarily disclose how much and where they are putting their resources.”

The proposals sent to Caesars Entertainment, Match Group, Penn Entertainment, SoFi Technologies, Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Zillow Group, and Zoom Video Communications, ask the companies to publicly report monetary and nonmonetary contributions and expenditures (direct and indirect) to any campaign for or against a candidate, or to influence public opinion on an election or referendum.

The proposals sent to The Coca Cola Company and Travelers Companies request that the companies adopt policies that require trade associations, or other third-party groups receiving company money for political activities to report how the funds are being used and which candidates the spending promotes. The proposals also request the reports be publicly disclosed.

The Fund is in discussions with some of the companies regarding potential agreements.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United struck down certain restraints on corporate political spending, Comptroller DiNapoli has filed 179 shareholder proposals on political spending disclosure, with 54 corporations adopting or agreeing to adopt disclosures. In the 2021-2022 shareholder season, the Fund reached agreements to disclose corporate political spending at six of the eight companies where it filed proposals, including Las Vegas Sands Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Ulta Beauty Inc. The Fund’s proposal at Twitter, Inc. received 53% percent support from the company’s shareholders.


About the New York State Common Retirement Fund

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is one of the largest public pension funds in the United States. 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 consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation.