5 companies agree to disclose political spending after prodding from DiNapoli

New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, withdrew shareholder proposals at five companies after they agreed to disclose their corporate political spending, according to a statement from Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the $152.9 billion pension fund.

Southwest Airlines Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plum Creek Timber Co., Harley-Davidson Inc. and Noble Energy Inc. all committed “to make public all direct and indirect monetary and non-monetary political contributions, including contributions to trade associations that are used for political purposes,” the statement said.

Mr. DiNapoli filed the proposals at the companies on behalf of the New York fund. “Shareholders have a right to know how companies are using corporate money for political purposes,” Mr. DiNapoli said in the statement. “These companies deserve credit for embracing transparency and reducing potential risk to shareholder value by disclosing direct and indirect contributions made with corporate funds.”

The New York pension fund owns 221,207 Southwest Airlines shares, valued at $29.9 million; 626,150 Dr. Pepper Snapple shares, valued at $29.4 million; 500,250 Plum Creek Timber shares, valued at $26.1 million; 821,912 Harley-Davidson shares, valued at $43.8 million; and 543,850 Noble Energy shares, valued at $62.9 million.