May 16, 2014

Google lobbying disclosure backed by CT pensioners defeated

Wikimedia Commons 2006
Wikimedia Commons 2006
Google's corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

A shareholder proposal that would have required Google to disclose further details about its lobbying expenditures was defeated by a more than 10-to-1 margin this week.

The Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, which has approximately $59 million invested in Google, backed the proposal alongside Walden Asset Management and other institutional investors.

In a statement released Thursday, State Treasurer Denise Nappier called the vote a "strong showing," given that the company's executive officers and board members own more than 60 percent of the voting power.

The proposal would have required the search-engine giant to prepare an annual report to describe its policies and procedures on direct and indirect lobbying activity and grassroots communications; disclose each payment and recipient; and disclose the company's membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, that crafts and endorses model legislation.

The proposal received 60.5 million votes in favor, 642.7 million against and 43 million abstentions at Google's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

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