Last month, Loews Corporation, a holding company which includes hotels, an insurance company, and pipelines, among other things, quietly took a leap forward on corporate political disclosure and disclosed the extent of its political involvement. In doing so, it shifted from being a long-time laggard on political transparency to demonstrating leadership, particularly among holding companies where the decentralized operating company structure presents unique challenges to political disclosure. This new disclosure follows years of engagement and three shareholder proposals from Clean Yield Asset Management – proposals which were supported by over 30% of Loews shareholders.
In its new disclosure, Loews reports that it makes minimal contributions and commits to disclosing contributions to political or other social welfare organizations, including 501(c)(4)s or and 527, as well as membership in trade associations, going forward. The company’s CNA Financial subsidiary is politically active and now discloses the list of organizations it supports. CNA’s new disclosure is important and raises questions about how its contributions fit with the company’s commitments to equity and inclusion, in particular.
While we ultimately want to see corporations out of politics, we believe that full transparency around political engagement and strong policies and systems to ensure alignment between a company’s mission and values and political involvement is the next best thing.
Note: Loews Corporation is a legacy investment that is either held by clients since before they came to Clean Yield and/or held due to client direction.