You are herecontent / First-of-its-kind "Refrain From Political Spending" Resolution to Be Voted on Today at Bank of America Shareholder Meeting

First-of-its-kind "Refrain From Political Spending" Resolution to Be Voted on Today at Bank of America Shareholder Meeting


Resolution would ask the corporation to opt out of the unlimited, often secret spending ability afforded to it by the Supreme Court in Citizens United
 
*UPDATE:* On Tuesday, May 8, at 3M Corp.’s shareholder meeting, investors urged the board to adopt the resolution to refrain from spending the company’s general treasury funds on influencing elections. Despite evidence that political spending can lower stock performance, the board voted down the measure.
 
“By advising its shareholders against adopting the resolution to refrain from spending general treasury funds to influence elections, 3M’s board has aligned itself with the likes of Karl Rove and the Koch brothers, and against shareholder interests,” said Rick Claypool, a senior online organizer with Public Citizen, who attended the meeting. “Investors shouldn’t have to worry that their nest eggs are being used as political weapons for causes and candidates they do not support.”
 
Charlotte, NC - shareholders at Bank of America will vote “yea” or “nay”
on a first-of-its-kind “refrain from political spending” resolution.
Resolutions addressing political spending are among the most popular in the
2012 shareholder season, with many dealing with disclosure of such
spending. This is the first shareholder season for this groundbreaking
resolution which was introduced by socially responsible investment firms
Trillium Asset Management at Bank of America and 3M Corporation and by Green
Century Capital Management <http://www.greencentury.com/> at Target
Corporation.
 
“This resolution strikes at the heart of the corporate and special interest
erosion of our democracy. Bank of America is the archetype of the reckless
corporation that we do not want having unlimited power in our democracy,”
said Blair Bowie, Democracy Advocate at U.S. PIRG, a good government group
which in conjunction with the Corporate Reform
Coalition<http://corporatereformcoalition.org/>,
has been organizing citizens and shareholder groups in support of the
resolution.
 
The resolution would request that the board of directors refrain from using
corporate treasury funds to influence the political process. This would
include contributions to Super PACs, political non-profits, such as the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) -- of which Bank of America is
a known member--, and trade associations, such as the Chamber of Commerce. The
resolution would not affect lobbying expenditures, separate segregated fund
(PAC) spending, or the ability of employees to participate in the political
process.
 
In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in *Citizens United vs. the FEC *that
corporations have the right to contribute unlimited sums of money to
influence an election, opening the floodgates for the type of corporate
political spending which the “refrain” resolution seeks to address. Since
that decision, outside spending in elections increased from $3.4 million in
2006 to $58.4 million in 2010 and from $25 million in 2008 to $121.1
million so far in 2012.[1] <#_ftn1>
 
“With its reputation and stock price at historic lows, any mucking around
in politics only creates more risks for the Bank’s shareholders. Corporate
political spending is dangerous for shareholders and dangerous for
democracy and if our courts and elected officials will not do it then we
will rein in the corporations we own ourselves, starting at Bank of
America,” concluded Bowie.
 
Recent studies have shown that political spending can have a negative
impact on a corporation’s bottom line. An April 25 study from the
University of Kansas and the University of Minnesota found a decline of 7.4
basis points in risk-adjusted stock return for every $10,000 in political
donations and found a relationship between high political spending and poor
corporate governance.[2] <#_ftn2>
 
In addition, political contributions by Target Corporation and 3M became
the subject of outrage and boycotts in 2010, leading to brand and
reputation damage that many shareholder groups view as a threat to their
investment.[3] <#_ftn3>
 
U.S. PIRG is a federation of independent, state-based, citizen-funded
organizations that advocate for the public interest.
USPIRG.org<http://www.uspirg.org/>
 
The Corporate Reform Coalition represents a diverse set of reform groups,
researchers, and investors working together to advance disclose and
accountability of corporate political spending.
Corporatereformcoalition.org<http://www.corporatereformcoalition.org>
 
 
 
------------------------------
 
[1] <#_ftnref1> Center for Responsive Politics,
http://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/index.php
 
[2] <#_ftnref2> “Corporate political donations do not boost stock
performance, KU professor says.” April 25, 2012.
http://phys.org/news/2012-04-corporate-political-donations-boost-stock.html
 
[3] <#_ftnref3> “Protestors to target 3M political contributions.” May 4,
2012.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-3m-meeting-idUSBRE8431FM20120504

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