A study released today ranked the top 100 American companies on how well they disclose their political activities, finding that many companies are moving towards adoption of disclosure policies, although others, such as 3M, are being left behind. The ability for corporations to spend huge amounts of cash on elections without disclosure arose with the U.S
A study released today ranked the top 100 American companies on how well they disclose their political activities, finding that many companies are moving towards adoption of disclosure policies, although others, such as 3M, are being left behind.
The ability for corporations to spend huge amounts of cash on elections without disclosure arose with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The first high-profile example of citizen discontent with corporate influence on the political system came when Target gave $150,000 to a business association backing the gubernatorial bid of Tom Emmer, who opposes same-sex marriage. The backlash provoked many companies to take a second look at their political disclosure and spending policies.
The study was done by the Wharton Center for Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Political Accountability. It ranked the top 100 S&P companies based on their policies involving disclosure of contributions, independent expenditures, payments to trade associations and other tax-exempt groups and payments to ballot measure committees. I also took into account whether a company publicly archived spending reports and their level of board oversight over political involvement.
Fourteen national companies received a score of zero, meaning they offered little to no disclosure of their political activity. Those companies include Berkshire Hathaway, Walt Disney and Halliburton.
On the other side of the scale, Merck, IBM and Exelon all offered very good disclosure policies (the full ranking is at the bottom of this post).
Minnesota companies ranked for political transparency
|UnitedHealth Group Inc.||62|
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