2016 – Tyson Foods, Inc.
WHEREAS, corporate lobbying exposes our company to risks that could adversely affect the company’s stated goals, objectives, and ultimately shareholder value, and
WHEREAS, we rely on the information provided by our company to evaluate goals and objectives, and we, therefore, have a strong interest in full disclosure of our company’s lobbying to assess whether our company’s lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and in the best interests of shareowners and long-term value.
RESOLVED, the shareowners of Tyson Foods (“Tyson”) request the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing the following information:
1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications;
2. Payments by Tyson used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient;
3. Tyson’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation;
4. Description of the decision making process and oversight by management and the Board for making payments described in sections 2 and 3 above.
For purposes of this proposal, a “grassroots lobbying communication” is a communication directed to the general public that (a) refers to specific legislation or regulation, (b) reflects a view on the legislation or regulation and (c) encourages the recipient of the communication to take action with respect to the legislation or regulation. “Indirect lobbying” is lobbying engaged in by a trade association or other organization of which Tyson is a member.
Both “direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include efforts at the local, state and federal levels.
The report shall be presented to the Audit Committee or other relevant oversight committees and posted on Tyson’s website.
Supporting Statement: As shareowners, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly. Tyson serves on the boards of the North American Meat Institute and the National Chicken Council. Tyson does not disclose its trade association memberships, nor payments and the portions used for lobbying on its website. Absent a system of accountability, company assets could be used for objectives contrary to Tyson’s long-term interests.
Tyson spent approximately $4.509 million from 2012-2014 on direct federal lobbying activities (Senate reports). These figures do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation in states, where Tyson also lobbies but disclosure is uneven or absent. For example, in Texas for 2013-2014, Tyson had four contracts with lobbyists worth a total of from $100,000 to $200,000 (Texas Ethics Commission). Tyson has drawn attention for its lobbying (“John Oliver 1, Big Chicken 0?” Open Secrets, July 13, 2015). Nor does Tyson disclose membership in or contributions to tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council.
We encourage our Board to require comprehensive disclosure related to direct, indirect and grassroots lobbying.