Abbott Laboratories | Lobbying Expenditures Disclosure at Abbott Laboratories

AGM passed
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Governance
ESG sub-theme
  • Lobbying / political engagement
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Health Care
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED, the stockholders of Abbott request the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:
Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.Payments by Abbott used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.Abbott’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.Description of management’s decision-making process and the Board’s oversight for making payments described in sections 2 and 3 above.For purposes of this proposal, a “grassroots lobbying communication” is a communication directed to the general public that (a) refers to specific legislation or regulation, (b) reflects a view on the legislation or regulation and (c) encourages the recipient of the communication to take action with respect to the legislation or regulation. “Indirect lobbying” is lobbying engaged in by a trade association or other organization of which Abbott is a member.
Both “direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include efforts at the local, state and federal levels. The report shall be presented to the Public Policy Committee and posted on Abbott’s website.
Supporting statement
Full disclosure of Abbott’s lobbying activities and expenditures is needed to assess whether Abbott’s lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and stockholder interests. Abbott spent $50,200,000 from 2010 – 2022 on federal lobbying. This does not include state lobbying, where Abbott lobbies and spent $1,191,095 on lobbying in California from 2010 – 2022.
Companies can give unlimited amounts to third party groups that spend millions on lobbying and undisclosed grassroots activity.1 Unlike many of its peers, Abbott fails to disclose its payments to trade associations and social welfare groups (SWGs), or the amounts used for lobbying, to stockholders. Abbott discloses membership in the Business Roundtable (BRT), National Association of Manufacturers and US Chamber Commerce, which have spent over $2.3 billion on federal lobbying since 1998. Abbott’s disclosure leaves out trade associations that lobby like the Alliance for Competitive Taxation and Consumer Technology Association, and all SWGs, such as Caregivers Voice United, which has received money from Abbott and backed a secret letter campaign in Oregon.2
Abbott’s lack of disclosure presents reputational risk when its lobbying contradicts company public positions. For example, Abbott is committed to responsible infant formula marketing, yet its trade associations have lobbied globally against strengthening breastfeeding protection laws.3 Abbott believes in addressing climate change, yet the BRT lobbied against the Inflation Reduction Act4 and the Chamber reportedly has been a “central actor” in dissuading climate legislation over a two-decade period.5 And while Abbott does not belong to the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council, which is attacking “woke” investing,6 it is represented by the Chamber, which sits on its Private Enterprise Advisory Council.7 Abbott should expand its lobbying disclosure.

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