Contact: Leslie Samuelrich, Green Century Capital Management, 617-482-0800, email@example.com
January 16, 2015: Citing outsized political contributions that have attracted negative publicity and damaged community relations, investors are calling on mega-spender Chevron to stop spending shareholder money trying to influence election outcomes. Green Century Capital Management filed the shareholder proposal after Chevron spent $3 million on local elections in Richmond, California last November.
The corporation’s spending failed to achieve a single victory, and provoked backlash in the local community and national media. The proposal highlights the risks and controversies for shareholders associated with the flood of corporate money in politics unleashed by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision five years ago this week.
“Chevron continues to try to throw its weight around like a bully on the playground as it drowns local elections with a flood of shareholder dollars in an attempt to influence local decision making and democracy,” stated Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Capital Management. “Shareholders don’t want to keep footing the bill for Chevron’s failed gambles in politics, and are calling on the company to put an end to political contributions.”
This is not the first time that Chevron has attracted national media coverage and shareholder ire for its outsized political contributions. In 2012, the company made the largest single corporate donation in history at that time, with its $2.5 million contribution to a GOP SuperPAC, helping to make the 2012 elections the most expensive in history. This year, Chevron was again highlighted in the media, this time for spending $3 million in an attempt to influence local City Council elections in Richmond, California, where the company is under pressure for local pollution problems and faces a lawsuit over a major refinery fire two years ago. The company failed to elect a single official of the four it supported, despite outspending the opposition by a 20-to-1 margin.
The shareholder proposal reflects ongoing concerns about the influence of corporate money in politics on the fifth anniversary of Citizens United, which enabled corporations to make unlimited independent expenditures. Corporate spending to influence elections is deeply unpopular with the majority of Americans across political lines. According to a 2012 poll by the Associated Press and the National Constitution Center, more than 8 in 10 Americans support limits on the amount of money given to groups trying to influence U.S. elections, with 85% support among Democrats, 81% among Republicans, and 78% among independents.
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Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds and offers two environmentally and socially responsible funds, the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund. Green Century works to curb climate change through fossil fuel free investing, reinvestment in sustainable companies, reducing reliance on dirty energy and advocating with companies to improve their environmental policies and supply chains. Green Century also is the only U.S. mutual fund company owned by environmental non-profits, the Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs).
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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 1/15