Five companies in the portfolio of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, have agreed to disclose their political spending, said Matt Sweeney, spokesman for Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York state comptroller and sole trustee for the $178.3 billion pension fund.
The five companies — Dean Foods, Eastman Chemical, H&R Block, Marathon Oil and Valero Energy — agreed to make the disclosure following the pension fund’s proposals for the companies to report on their spending on politically related items, including ballot measures, candidates, political parties, and any direct or indirect state and federal lobbying.
Mr. DiNapoli announced in a news release that the pension fund has withdrawn its corresponding shareholder proposals with Eastman Chemical, Marathon Oil and Valero Energy. Both Dean Foods and H&R Block’s shareholders approved by a majority the pension fund’s proposal in 2014.
“Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United was handed down five years ago, we’ve worked to convince our portfolio companies and fellow shareholders that it’s in their own interest to let daylight shine on corporate political spending,” Mr. DiNapoli said in the news release.
Among past companies that have made similar agreements with the pension fund regarding political spending disclosures were Comcast in April 2014, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Harley-Davidson, Noble Energy, Plum Creek Timber and Southwest Airlines in April 2013.