Clean Yield is pleased to announce the withdrawal of a shareholder proposal filed at Alphabet seeking increased political transparency. Since Clean Yield filed the proposal, Alphabet has meaningfully strengthened its systems for managing political activities. Most notably, the company has indicated that it has board-level oversight and accountability for political activities. The company has also disclosed its membership organizations, its policy against allowing trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations to use Alphabet money for political purposes, and details of how this policy is implemented. The full details of Alphabet’s updated policies can be found here.
Clean Yield Portfolio Manager Dorigen Hofmann praised Alphabet’s increased transparency. “We are excited to see this important step forward at Alphabet to increase transparency around its political spending. Such transparency is critical now more than ever to maintain our democracy and ensure that shareholders can understand the full range of issues and candidates that corporations support.”
This successful engagement with Alphabet builds on Clean Yield’s long-term focus on increasing political transparency. For years, Clean Yield has partnered with the Center for Political Accountability (CPA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for corporate political disclosure and accountability, to encourage publicly traded companies to disclose information about their political activities and expenditures. Clean Yield shares CPA’s view that shareholders should be able to know and evaluate how companies use corporate dollars for political purposes and be able to hold companies accountable when that money is spent on causes or candidates that run counter to the company’s stated values and commitments. This kind of transparency is particularly critical in the current environment, where dark money and illicit groups play an increasingly influential role in undermining the integrity of the U.S. political process. Having transparency of this nature ensures accountability for corporations in the system and is an underpinning of a healthy democracy.