The Board’s Role In Overseeing Corporate Political Spending

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Bruce Freed, President & Co-founder, Center for Political Accountability, discusses trends in political spending proposals–and what this could mean for the board’s role in risk oversight.

Like diversity and ESG issues, political spending disclosure and accountability continues to gain more attention in the boardroom. More companies and boards are communicating their policies on corporate political spending every year, while shareholder proposals (and voting support for these proposals) continue to pick up steam. Specifically, what questions should boards be asking?

In this episode, guest host Doug Chia, Executive Director of The Conference Board Governance Center, welcomes Bruce Freed, President & Co-founder, Center for Political Accountability, to discuss trends in political spending proposals–and what this could mean for the board’s role in risk oversight.

“It’s even more important today that boards adopt policies for disclosure and accountability–and that boards be knowledgeable about political spending, the laws and regulations governing it, the risks that they face, and the types of steps they should take to be able to protect the company. But, also, [boards should] take a broader view of the impact of their spending and the role of the company as a member of the body politic and a member of society.”

— Bruce Freed, President & Co-founder, Center for Political Accountability

What was once a special-interest topic is no longer. Freed discusses the nuances related to political spending–from talent acquisition to corporate culture to shareholder engagement.

“BlackRock has been coming up with some very good policies on political spending,” explains Freed. “The next step is to have BlackRock vote their policies. State Street has [also] been supportive of [political spending] disclosure.”

Freed also discusses implications of corporate political spending via trade associations and super PACs. Specifically, what aspects should boards be attuned to?

Click here to view the full episode.

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