A coalition of 60 investors, led by the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, recently announced that they have submitted shareholder proposals seeking additional disclosures regarding political spending and lobbying activities. This announcement reflects a continuing desire among these groups to obtain additional disclosures from public companies regarding lobbying and political spending, and in particular participation in trade associations and social welfare organizations.

Last season, many of these same investors submitted a number of political spending and lobbying shareholder proposals to public companies, which led to political spending shareholder proposals being the number one shareholder proposal topic in 2013.  Ironically these proposals led all shareholder proposals numerically, but they did not fare as well as many other popular shareholder proposals, including proposals regarding executive compensation and a variety of corporate governance measures. We believe some of this may be attributable to the fact that a great many companies, including many of the companies that were the subject of such proposals, already publicly disclose significant information about their political spending activities on their websites.

You can find more information regarding the announcement, including the companies that are the subject of the campaign, by clicking here.