Transparency and accountability in corporate spending to influence public policy are in the best interests of stockholders. That is why Boston Common filed a shareholder resolution with Oracle Corp. requesting greater disclosure of the company’s direct and indirect Lobbying expenses—and calling for transparency and accountability in the spending of shareholder resources.

We are pleased to report that our proposal received a 28.2% vote in favor—a strong show of support—at Oracle’s annual shareholder meeting last week.

Corporations contribute millions to trade associations that lobby indirectly on their behalf without specific disclosure or accountability. Absent a system of accountability, company assets could be used for objectives contrary to Oracle’s long-term interests.

Oracle Lobbying Highlights:

  • Oracle has spent over $68 million from 2010 – 2017 on federal lobbying. This figure does not include expenditures to influence legislation in states, where Oracle also lobbies but disclosure is uneven or absent.
    • For example, Oracle spent $1,865,597 on lobbying in California from 2010 – 2017
    • And Reportedly lobbied in 35 different states from 2010 through 2014
  • Unlike many of its peers including Intel and Microsoft, Oracle does not disclose its memberships in, or payments to, trade associations, or the amounts used for lobbying.
  • Oracle is a listed as a member of the Business Roundtable, which spent $126.93 million on lobbying from 2010 – 2017 and is lobbying against the right of shareholders to file resolutions 

Proxy advisor ISS supported this proposal, noting that Oracle “does not provide comprehensive disclosure of its direct and indirect lobbying expenses — direct expenses at the federal level were estimated to be $9 million in 2017. There is also minimal disclosure of the policies and mechanisms Oracle has in place to manage its participation in trade associations, which may use its dues to lobby for policies that may conflict with the company’s. This information could help shareholders evaluate the extent and management of the company’s political activities, and the relative risks and benefits.”

The information in this article should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

Published On: November 21, 2018Categories: From the Commons