Political Spending Disclosure: What BlackRock Wants to See
BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship team recently shared commentary on corporate political activities, which urges companies to provide transparent disclosure so that investors and other stakeholders can understand how public messaging and strategy are aligned with contributions to lobbying efforts and trade associations. Where the stewardship team notes “material inconsistencies” with stated policy priorities and spending, BlackRock may support a shareholder proposal requesting additional disclosure or explanation.
The asset manager says that companies should provide easy-to-navigate info on their website — and should consider disclosing:
The purpose of the company’s political contributions and engagement in lobbying activities and trade associations, and how this activity aligns with the company’s strategy and/or goals of public participation, including the company’s legislative and regulatory priorities.
How the company engages in these activities (ex: Government Relations/Policy Team).
The company’s political contribution and lobbying policy, including management and board responsibilities.
The board’s oversight process for monitoring political contributions and lobbying activities.
If the company has established a PAC,and if so, how the PAC’s spending furthers the aims of the company’s political contributions.
Trade association memberships for which dues exceed a predetermined threshold that requires board approval or oversight.
An affirmation of compliance with federal and state laws governing political activities and lobbying.
-Liz Dunshee, TheCorporateCounsel.net January 6, 2021
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