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AUM in Action

Lobbying Disclosure Headway for NYC Common

The New York State Common Retirement Fund reached agreements with seven portfolio companies to enhance disclosure of their spending on political causes. “In today’s political climate, corporations that engage in political spending risk damaging their reputations; shareholders need transparency to be able to assess whether corporate political donations align with shareholders’ interests,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a trustee of the fund, said. “It is imperative that companies, at a bare minimum, proactively disclose all corporate funds spent on political causes. The fund remains steadfast in its pursuit of greater transparency surrounding political spending by portfolio companies.” Match Group, Penn Entertainment, Warner Bros. Discovery, Zillow Group, Paramount Global and Zoom Video Communications agreed to publicly report monetary and nonmonetary contributions and expenditures to any campaign for or against a candidate, or to influence public opinion on an election or referendum. US insurer Travelers Companies agreed to adopt policies that require the disclosure of trade associations and social welfare organisations to which the company pays dues of US$25,000 or more and the lobbying allocations associated with those contributions. After reaching the agreements, the retirement fund withdrew shareholder proposals it had filed with each company. A proposal for political spending disclosure at casino and hotel operator Caesars Entertainment received 41.98% of the shareholders vote at the company’s 13 June AGM. Since the US Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United struck down certain restraints on corporate political spending, Comptroller DiNapoli has filed 179 shareholder proposals on political spending disclosure, with 61 corporations adopting or agreeing to adopt disclosures.

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