New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, announced Wednesday it had reached an agreement with The J.M. Smucker Co., Orrville, Ohio, to withdraw a shareholder proposal in return for the company agreeing to disclose political spending.
“In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, investors have been left in the dark on how and where corporate dollars are spent on political causes,” Thomas DiNapoli, the state comptroller and sole trustee of the $178.1 billion pension fund, said in a news release.
“I believe shareholders have the right to know where their money is being spent,” he added. “I applaud J. M. Smucker Co. for agreeing to voluntarily disclose its political spending.”
Matthew Sweeney, a spokesman for Mr. DiNapoli, said in an interview that the pension fund owns 437,725 shares of J.M. Smucker stock worth approximately $67 million.
Patrick Doherty, the pension system's director of corporate governance, wrote to J.M. Smucker in December 2015, announcing the pension fund's intention to submit a shareholder proposal at the company's annual meeting on Aug. 17.
On June 1, Mr. Doherty wrote the company saying the pension fund would withdraw its shareholder proposal based on the company's response, which contained a draft corporate political spending policy. Both letters were provided to Pensions & Investments by the pension fund.