A rebellion inside the corporate structure

Corporate shareholders are revolting! In the very best sense of that term.

Corporate shareholders are revolting! In the very best sense of that term.

More and more investor groups today are rebelling against the top managers of some of the corporations they own. Why? Because the executives have been gambling on political races – not with their own money, but with the money that shareholders have invested in the corporations. In other words, the execs are treating investor funds as their personal pile of political chips – not even bothering to tell the shareholders about it, much less asking permission or consulting them on whom to support.

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While Washington fiddles with proposals to require that corporate executives at least inform investors about all political use of their money, shareholders themselves are taking action. Since 2010, there has been a doubling of shareholder resolutions at corporate board meetings to force executives to disclose such spending and reveal the process for deciding which candidates to back.

A New York pension fund, for example, has compelled political disclosure by the managers of 20 corporations in which it has big investments, including Dr. Pepper, Harley-Davidson, and Southwest Airlines. Recently, this pension fund forced a vote on disclosure at the board meeting of CF Industries. CFI’s board had earlier opposed the resolution unanimously, haughtily declaring that “Our corporate political contributions… are always both in the business interests of the company and its shareholders.”

In other words, “Go away, little people, stop bothering us.” A pod of slugs wouldn’t be as clueless as that! Sure enough, by a vote of 65.9 percent, shareholders emphatically supported the disclosure resolution.

To keep up with this spreading shareholder revolt against secret corporate politicking, contact the Center for Political Accountability: www.PoliticalAccountability.net.

“Investors urging openness on political spending,” www.washingtonpost.com, May 18, 2013.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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