On March 26, 2013, Clean Yield submitted filed an exempt solicitation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a communication from us to other investors seeking their support for our shareholder proposal at EQT Corporation. The proposal calls on the company to study the feasibility of adopting a ban on political contributions made from its general treasury funds. EQT is a Pittsburgh-based natural gas exploration company heavily involved in the controversial practice of hydraulic factoring, or “hydrofracking.”
The letter is also posted here on the SEC’s “Edgar” database, where it will be viewed by shareholders and other investment professionals who monitor the company. In it, Clean Yield argues that such a ban would benefit EQT and its shareholders for several reasons. Foremost among them is the need for hydraulic fracturing regulation to be fashioned that has the confidence of all stakeholders; as long as the industry is perceived as trying to buy influence of public officials, the longer it will take for a consensus to emerge. We also note the emergence of academic studies that cast doubt on whether political spending is efficacious for companies, and are finding evidence that high levels of political spending and lobbying are correlated to poor governance practices and lower stock returns. The letter debunks the notion that companies that choose not to give to political recipients are unilaterally disarming, since their lobbying expenditures typically far exceed their political giving.
Tags: Citizens United, corporate political contributions, EQT, exempt solicitation, hydraulic fracturing, hydrofracking, money in politics, SEC