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Got political conscience? There’s a guide for that

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, December 16th, 2011 at 2:59 pm in Uncategorized.

Man, I gotta a lot of stuff to return.

The Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending has issued its 2011 holiday shopping guide, which lists all the companies that fail to tell the public much, if anything, about what they spend on politics.

Less than one-third of major firms even guarantee that their boards exercise oversight for their executives’ political spending, CAPS says.

Among the worst: MasterCard, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Costco, Lowe’s, Walgren, IBM, Sprint, Colgate-Palmolive, Nike and even Walt Disney Co.

CAPS’ board includes California Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

Read the full release below.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE AIMS AT COMPANIES THAT HIDE THEIR SPENDING ON ELECTIONS 

Bipartisan Coalition of Public Officials Praises IBM, Colgate-Palmolive
for Spending Restraint and Disclosure

Cites Amazon, Wal-Mart, Nike, Berkshire-Hathaway, CVS, others
for Spending and Secrecy

A holiday shopping guide aimed at closing the corporate political spending floodgates opened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling was released today by the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS). It identifies well-known companies that spend freely on elections, fail to disclose that spending, and whose boards exercise little or no oversight on their political spending, as well as companies that limit their outlays on elections or report it publicly. By letting shoppers know how well-known companies perform based on their rankings in the Baruch Index of Corporate Political Disclosure (“Baruch Index”) and the CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Accountability and Disclosure (“CPA Index”), CAPS hopes to encourage companies to spend less and disclose more.

You can view the shopping guide here: http://bit.ly/holiday-shopping

The group includes Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn, California’s State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, New York City’s Public Advocate, Bill de Blasio, Los Angeles City Comptroller, Wendy Greuel and other public officials (see full list below) who sit on the boards of public pension funds and share the view, confirmed by business school researchers, that corporate spending on elections is bad for a company’s bottom line and therefore bad for shareholders and employees’ pensions. CAPS members apply pressure on companies to limit their political spending and increase disclosure through direct engagement, pension fund activism, contracting reform, as well as state and local legislation.

Since Citizens United, an increasing number of companies have decided to strengthen disclosure of political spending, voluntarily limit their spending, and increase board oversight. However, many other companies have not embraced these reforms. Less than one-third of S&P 500 firms guarantee that their board has oversight responsibility for their company’s political spending. Even then, 90% of that board’s action is a post-hoc review of what management has done.

Kate CoyneMcCoy, CAPS’ Executive Director, Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn, California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and Los Angeles City Comptroller Wendy Greuel are available for interviews upon request.

Kate CoyneMcCoy is the former Regional director of the Political Opportunity Program (POP) at EMILY’s List, the largest political action network in the United States, and has served as a Fellow in the Women’s Public Policy Program at Harvard University since 2007. 

Current CAPS members include: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord, Public Advocate for the City of New York Bill de Blasio, Comptroller for the City of Los Angeles Wendy Greuel, North Carolina State Representative William Current, Sr., New Hampshire State Representative James Pilliod, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Toni Pappas. 

 

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