Disney should be more transparent about its lobbying

AP file photo/OneShareA single share of stock from The Walt Disney Company. Health information exchange Disney is holding its annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday in Denver.

Corporations seek to influence politics and policy, citing the need to look out for their interests in the halls of power. Health information systems However, while they claim to do what is best for their shareholders, many companies don’t fully disclose how much they spend on lobbying or which trade associations lobby on their behalf.


After the election of an over-the-top TV businessman as president, the corporate privilege that threatens America’s social and environmental sustainability will only get worse. Veterans health information systems and technology architecture From his corporate-connected Cabinet appointees to his assault on public regulatory safeguards and his refusal to divest his stake in his businesses, President Donald Trump has shown that he is willing to trade the safety and security of ordinary Americans for short-term profit.

Shareholders have been calling for corporate transparency around political and lobbying activities for more than a decade, and that transparency is now more important than ever.

That’s why Zevin Asset Management and other investors are asking The Walt Disney Company to dig a little deeper to be truly upfront with shareholders and the public. 3m health information systems We’re taking the matter straight to Disney’s annual shareholder meeting in Denver this week with a resolution calling on the company to publish a report of all of its direct lobbying and the lobbying that associations conduct with its membership dues and payments.

Finding all of Disney’s lobbying is not easy, but we know that it’s been busy working on its policy priorities. Information of health The company spent a combined $7.57 million in 2015 and 2016 on federal lobbying. Information about healthy living Obtaining comprehensive state lobbying information is described by one expert as “nearly impossible” given the “Byzantine” nature of state disclosures. Information about healthy diet What we do know about Disney’s lobbying at the state level is that the company has as many as 40 lobbyists registered in the state of Florida and its operation there has been described as “the 800-pound mouse protecting its cheese in the backrooms of city hall and state government.”

A lack of transparency around Disney’s membership in trade associations that lobby on behalf of corporate members raises even more flags. Health information exchange challenges Disney is a member of the National Restaurant Association and evidently a member of the U.S. Free health information Chamber of Commerce. Health information systems pdf Apparently, the company also sits on the boards of both the Florida and California chambers of commerce. Latest health information But the company fails to disclose to shareholders its trade association memberships, payments and amounts of its payments used to lobby.

Disney has been linked to efforts by the National Restaurant Association and California Chamber to push back on raising the minimum wage, to stop implementation of paid sick leave, and to criticize parental leave laws. Medical health information And the U.S. Health information websites Chamber of Commerce has questioned climate science and attacks energy policies that would safeguard public health and the environment. What is health care information As the largest lobbying force in the country, the Chamber spent more than $103 million on lobbying in 2016.

All of this would surprise consumers who are attracted to Disney’s family friendly image and should worry investors who need the company to protect its valuable reputation.

Even riskier is Disney’s involvement with President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, the business council on which CEO Robert Iger sits to offer the president advice on behalf of Disney and the wider entertainment industry. Health information systems management The Forum meets in an unofficial capacity so as to skirt standard transparency and good government requirements. Interoperability of health information systems Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, already dropped his involvement in the Forum citing Trump’s travel ban.

The potential negative publicity generated by Disney’s opaque lobbying and Iger’s association with the Trump administration underscores the fact that undisclosed, unconsidered political activity may just be too risky for Disney’s reputation and shareholders’ financial position.

At the very least, we need a little more sunlight in the Magic Kingdom.

Pat Miguel Tomaino is associate director of socially responsible investing at Zevin Asset Management, LLC.

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