Breaking news: Exxon to dislose political donations, waffles on trade association pay-outs

Breaking news: Exxon to dislose political donations, waffles on trade association pay-outs
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A friend of DSBlog just sent this press release over:

ExxonMobil Agrees to Disclose Soft Money Political Contributions

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11 (AScribe Newswire) – ExxonMobil Corp. will disclose for the first time political contributions it makes with corporate funds, known colloquially as soft money , according to As You Sow, a nonprofit group promoting corporate social responsibility.

The group filed a shareholder proposal with the company on the issue. Confirming the new policy in its 2007 proxy statement released today, the world’s largest integrated oil company said “an itemized listing of corporate contributions to candidates for public office and 527s at the state level is being added to our web site.” “527s” are groups allowed under the US tax code to influence election of candidates for public office.

The company’s action followed the filing of a political disclosure shareholder proposal by As You Sow in 2006 and 2007. The resolution was co-filed in 2007 by Clean Yield Group of Greensboro, Vermont. ExxonMobil becomes the 32nd major company to agree to similar disclosure of political contributions as part of a shareholder campaign coordinated by the Washington, DC-based Center for Political Accountability.

“We are pleased that Exxon Mobil has agreed to adopt transparency and accountability on political contributions,” said Conrad MacKerron, Director of As You Sow’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program. However, the proposal remains on the proxy because it also asked the company to disclose payments made to trade associations used for political activities, including those opposing government action to curb global warming.

The company has indicated it is not yet ready to agree to such disclosure, contending it would “increase competition among trade associations” for funding. “We disagree with that line of thinking,” said MacKerron. “We were willing to compromise and request that they only disclose the portion of trade associations funds used for political purposes, not a full itemization of membership dues.”

Several major corporations recently agreed to such disclosure. Aetna, DuPont, Pfizer, Xcel Energy, FirstEnergy and WellPoint have agreed to seek to obtain the information from trade associations about the portion of payments made to associations used for political and lobbying purposes. As You Sow filed the proposal on behalf of a shareholder client of RBC Dain Rauscher SRI Wealth Management Group (San Francisco) for the purpose of engaging the company on this issue. As You Sow is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting corporate social responsibility. It represents shareholders in engaging publicly held companies to adopt more progressive social and environmental policies. – – – –

CONTACT: Conrad MacKerron, 415-391-3212 x. 31 or mobile 510-761-7050

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AScribe – The Public Interest Newswire / 510-653-9400 www.ascribe.org

This is great news and a great step forward in full disclosure by the largest public company in the world. Recently, we saw ExMo attempt to soften it’s image as a major global warming denier and discontinue funding some of the more outrageous third-party attack groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

It will also be interesting to see how the ExMo soft money donations divide down party lines. I would guess a larger majority will have gone to the pro-freemarket Republicans. Among Republicans, it will also be interesting to correlate soft money activities with the level of energy any one individual politician put into attacking the science of global warming.

The odds-on favorite for most spent will no doubt be former chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, James Inhofe (R-OK) , who has repeatedly claimed that “global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

Breaking news: Exxon to dislose political donations, waffles on trade association pay-outs

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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