2017 – Wyndham Worldwide Corp.
RESOLVED, that the shareholders of Wyndham Worldwide, Inc. (“Wyndham” or “Company”) hereby request that the Company provide a report, updated semiannually, disclosing the Company’s:
1. Policies and procedures for making, with corporate funds or assets, contributions and expenditures (direct or indirect) to (a) participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, or (b) influence the general public, or any segment thereof, with respect to an election or referendum.
2. Monetary and non-monetary contributions and expenditures (direct and indirect) used in the manner described in section 1 above, including:
a. The identity of the recipient as well as the amount paid to each; and
b. The title(s) of the person(s) in the Company responsible for decision-making.
The report shall be presented to the board of directors or relevant board committee and posted on the Company’s website within 6 months from the date of the annual meeting.
Supporting Statement: As long-term shareholders of Wyndham Worldwide, we support transparency and accountability in corporate spending on political activities. These include any activities considered intervention in any political campaign under the Internal Revenue Code, such as direct and indirect contributions to political candidates, parties, or organizations; expenditures for political advertisements; or electioneering communications on behalf of federal, state or local candidates.
Disclosure is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders and critical for compliance with federal ethics laws. Moreover, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision recognized the importance of political spending disclosure for shareholders when it said, “[D]isclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way. This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.” Gaps in transparency and accountability may expose the company to reputational and business risks that could threaten long-term shareholder value.
Furthermore, in The 2016 CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Accountability and Disclosure, Wyndham placed Fourth Tier with a score of 38.6%. While this is up from near bottom of the 2015 ranking of just 10%, it behooves our Company to take leadership and outpace its closest competitor which is Third Tier at 58.6 or under 2 points away from Second Tier.
Relying on publicly available data does not provide a complete picture of the Company’s political spending. For example, the Company’s payments to trade associations used for political activities are undisclosed and unknown. This proposal asks the Company to disclose all of its political spending, including payments to trade associations and other tax exempt organizations used for political purposes. This would bring our Company in line with a growing number of leading companies, including Marriott, Yum! Brands, Time Warner Inc., and Target Corp. that support political disclosure and accountability and present this information on their websites.