Capitol Riot Prompts Some Big Banks and Companies to Pause Political Funding
Emily Glazer, Theo Francis, Chip Cutter, Wall Street Journal
Companies face growing pressure from investors and shareholders over political spending. Since 2004, 200 of the S&P 500 companies have faced shareholder proposals seeking to limit political spending or to improve disclosure, according to the Center for Political Accountability, a nonpartisan group in Washington that works with investors to push companies to limit or better disclose political spending.
Nearly half of companies in the index fully disclose or prohibit contributions to candidates, parties and political committees, up from 183 in 2015, according to the group. Most of those prohibit at least one kind of contribution altogether, often independent expenditures or contributions to candidates and political committees.
A key factor is the backlash—from consumers, employees and investors—that companies can face for funding candidates who later take stands conflicting with popular sentiment or the company’s own public positions, said Bruce Freed, the group’s president. He expects companies to come under increasing scrutiny in coming weeks and months.
“All of their statements become hollow if their political money is going to members who voted to overturn this election,” Mr. Freed said. “The risk of political giving has gone up exponentially.”