DiNapoli wins in KeyCorp political spending disclosure agreement
By Barry B. Burr | January 16, 2013 3:59 pm
New York State Common Retirement Fund won agreement from KeyCorp for the company to disclose all of its corporate political spending, lobbying and employee-sponsored political contributions, according to an announcement by Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller, who is sole trustee of the $150.1 billion Albany-based fund.
As part of the agreement, the pension fund will withdraw a shareholder proposal it filed at KeyCorp on the issue. KeyCorp is the first company to agree to disclosure among such proposals the pension fund filed at 26 companies in all for 2013.
The pension fund owned 5.1 million KeyCorp shares, valued at about $46.4 million as of Wednesday, Eric Sumberg, spokesman for Mr. DiNapoli, said in an e-mail.
The pension fund on Jan. 3 filed suit against Qualcomm Inc. “for the right to inspect the company's books and records to determine how shareholder funds are being spent for political purposes,” according to the statement. The complaint was filed in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington after Qualcomm refused the pension fund's request to inspect the company's books for political spending. The pension fund didn't file a shareholder proposal at Qualcomm. The pension fund owned 6.1 million Qualcomm shares, valued at $378 million, as of Dec. 31, according to the lawsuit.
“ KeyCorp has taken a positive step for transparency and corporate accountability by agreeing to reveal its political contributions,” Mr. DiNapoli said in the statement. “When companies make their corporate political donations public, shareholders can evaluate if their interests are aligned with management's. More companies should follow the lead of KeyCorp and voluntarily disclose information that shareholders have a right to know.”
Lynne Woodman, KeyCorp spokeswoman, and Tina Asmar, Qualcomm spokeswoman, couldn't be reached for comment.