Lobbying & Political Spending
In line with Tri-State CRI’s concerns with the role of corporations in society at large, we support efforts to increase transparency in corporate lobbying and political spending. This is of particular concern since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which removed most legal restrictions on corporate political spending. Beyond political spending, corporations influence the political process through direct lobbying and financial donations to lobbying and trade associations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
While such activities often support legitimate business concerns, such as tax policy or tort reform, the outsized role of corporations in the political process can skew legislative priorities and lead to regulatory capture, harming society at large. Climate change is one are in particular where corporate lobbying and political spending has stymied legislative and regulatory efforts to address the challenge.
Tri-State CRI engages in this area primarily through proxy voting in support of shareholder proposals seeking increased transparency in corporate lobbying and political spending. We also engage directly with companies on these issues, especially as they intersect with climate change, discussing lobbying with a number of fossil fuel companies. Tri-State CRI’s dialogue with Ford Motor Company also contributed to the corporation’s decision to discontinue its funding of ALEC, which opposes renewable energy and has promoted climate denial.