Proxy Filings to Address Citizens United

James McRitchie Proxy Filings to Address Citizens UnitedMore than 40 investors joined in filing and co-filing the resolution seeking comprehensive disclosure of corporate lobbying. Among them are New York State Common Retirement Funds, Walden Asset Management, the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, Needmor Fund, PAX World Fund, Tides Foundation, Funding Exchange, and Russell Family Foundation. Also participating are faith-based investors such as CHRISTUS Health, Catholic Health East, Midwest Capuchin Franciscans, Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, Sisters of Notre Dame Boston, Mercy Investment Services, Glenmary Home Missioners, and Sisters of Notre Dame Toledo. This unique investor network is organized by the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company.

Specifically, the resolution asks for disclosure of:

  1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, including that done on our company’s behalf by trade associations.
  2. Payments used for direct lobbying as well as grassroots lobbying communications
  3. Membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
  4. Decision-making processes and oversight by management and the Board.

To contact James McRitchie directly, please email jm@corpgov.net

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Posted in Corporate Governance, Featured, Shareholder Policies & Investor Regulations | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Proxy Filings to Address Citizens United

  1. SEC Commissioner Aguilar delivered remarks entitled “Shining a Light on Expenditures of Shareholder Money.” In those remarks he recognizes what the American public and news media are reporting, on a daily basis, that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United fundamentally undercuts campaign finance laws and practices. He specifically focused on the fact that companies often make political expenditures without their shareholders’ consent much less knowledge. Commissioner Aguilar emphasized the need for the Commission to act to ensure investors receive the disclosures they require.

    “Unfortunately, the voices of investors are often drowned out by the louder, better-funded, and often better-connected voices of issuers, financial institutions, and corporate lawyers. When that happens, it is incumbent upon us to not only remember, but also make evident by our actions, that the fundamental mission of the SEC is to protect investors.” See http://www.sec.gov/news/speech/2012/spch022412laa.htm

    I hope the SEC will finally get around to implementing a shareholder’s advisory committee, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank bill.

  2. Let it be fair to say that Freud’s “invention” of the construct “repetition compulsion” in 1914 is alive and well. And even thriving in modern times. Repetition compulsion is a psychological phenomenon whereby a person (or a corporation) continues to repeat a traumatic event (or a corporate practice) again and again. History, if you will, keeps reliving itself. Corporations have deep pockets which enables them to exercise a variety of power and control procedures even if they know they are violating stipulations. They “can afford to make repetitive mistakes.” It then becomes incumbent on the individual shareholder, or an already overburdened government agency, to “catch” them. And they (“our” corporations) utilize shareholder assets to finance their ploys! Surrealism and paradox continue to thrive on the Street. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act was signed into law on July 21, 2010. Shareholders have been waiting patiently to “join up” for Shareholder Advisory Committee duty. The Shareholder Activist provides a platform for their voices in the interim, and will continue to do so in perpetuity.

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