Corporate political disclosure activists this week launched a new tactic in their fight to pressure companies to publicly disclose information about their political and lobbying activities.

For more than a decade, public pension funds and others have aggressively pushed shareholder resolutions that call on public companies to self-disclose information about contributions to trade associations and

Covington has recently learned that, for the first time ever, the CPA-Zicklin Index, which ranks companies’ political disclosure practices, plans to issue rankings for all 500 companies in the S&P 500 Index.  This is a significant expansion of the Index, which will impact many public companies that have not previously been subject to intense scrutiny

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

This year has not been a great one for activists seeking to force corporations to increase disclosure of their political activities.  According to the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy, average shareholder support for proposals related to political spending or lobbying declined again this year, from 22 percent to 20 percent for lobbying proposals and

If there was an award for “political law issue of the year,” corporate political disclosure would be a front-runner.  About a year ago, the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) asked the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”)—housed within the Office of Management and Budget as part of the Executive Office of the President—to add

Earlier this week, activist investors attempted to push through a shareholder resolution barring Chevron from using corporate funds for political activities.  The resolution called for the board of directors to “adopt a policy to refrain from using corporate funds to influence any political election.”  If passed, it would have prohibited not only direct contributions, but

Political spending proposals were among the most common shareholder proposal topics in 2012, with more than 90 political spending proposals being submitted to S&P 500 companies (only 56 were voted upon). Despite the significant number of such proposals submitted in 2012, political spending proposals did not fare well with shareholders, garnering only 26% support from

The Conference Board has issued an interesting report on “Corporate Political Spending.”  The report addresses an increasingly high-profile issue for politically active public companies: demands from shareholders and interest groups that corporations publicly disclose all of their political and lobbying activities.  Much disclosure is already required, of course, by federal, state and local campaign finance

One issue that confronted many public companies this year was how to respond when they received multiple shareholder proposals relating to political contributions and lobbying matters. One approach that some companies have turned to relies on Rule 14a-8(i)(11) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which allows a company to exclude from its proxy materials