PepsiCo has agreed to more robust disclosure of its lobbying and political spending in response to a shareholder resolution filed on behalf of New York’s state pension fund, which owns about $400 million in PepsiCo stock. Just three weeks ago, the New York State Comptroller settled a suit with Qualcomm over similar issues.
As we have discussed here, activist shareholders, often led by labor-affiliated and social-investing funds, increasingly have turned to the proxy process to try to force companies to disclose more information about their spending on political activity and lobbying and to require more Board oversight of such spending. The NY Comptroller is using the leverage of the State’s public pension fund to pursue the same agenda. So far this year he has filed 26 shareholder resolutions and at least one lawsuit seeking to force disclosure of political spending by corporations.