COMCAST CORPORATION | Political Contributions Misalignment at Comcast Corp.

Status
AGM passed
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
4
Resolution details
Company ticker
CMCSA
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Governance
ESG sub-theme
  • Lobbying / political engagement
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Shareholder
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Comcast publish an annual report, at reasonable expense, analyzing the congruence of the Company’s political and electioneering expenditures during the preceding year against publicly stated company values and policies, listing and explaining any trends of incongruent expenditures, and stating whether the Company has made, or plans to make, changes in contributions or communications to candidates as a result of identified incongruencies.
Whereas clause
WHEREAS: Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”) is one of the nation’s largest corporate political spenders. In 2022, the Company contributed about 14 million dollars to lobbying, 9 million dollars to political contributions, and 14 million dollars to trade associations and nonprofit organizations.1
Comcast states that its PAC Board and Vice President of Political Affairs review political contributions against criterion listed in its Statement on Political and Trade Association Activity. The Company states its contributions are bipartisan, and that “no one criterion or public policy position determines whether a candidate receives a contribution.”2
Given the sheer volume of Comcast’s political spending and because spending decisions are not based solely on one public policy decision, it is crucial Comcast provides greater transparency into its political spending decision-making and regularly monitors for corporate values alignment. Especially in the current environment of increased political scrutiny, transparency into political spending alignment provides assurance the Company is adhering to its stated business interests and values.
Inconsistencies in Comcast’s stated political spending criterion and contributions may pose significant risks to the Company’s business and reputation. For example, Comcast states it supports candidates that “respect democracy and the rule of law.” Yet, Comcast supports politicians who advanced fictitious stolen 2020 election narratives. Continued support of these politicians may contribute to a denigration of the United States’s political stability, ultimately jeopardizing Comcast’s business interests.
Additionally, Comcast contributes to candidates who “support policies that make it easier to hire and retain a skilled workforce.” Yet, Comcast contributed 8 million to political recipients working to weaken reproductive health care, which undermines the Company’s ability to attract and retain female talent within restrictive states.
The Center for Political Accountability’s Model Code of Conduct advises companies to conduct a political spending misalignment review to mitigate reputational and business risks.3 Comcast should establish transparent reporting on political spending misalignment so shareholders have greater insight into how the Company balances competing interests when making political contributions.
Supporting statement
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: Proponents recommend, at management discretion, Comcast report metrics illuminating the degree to which political contributions align with stated values and policy priorities year over year, and present such metrics in the aggregate. Proponents recommend the report contain management’s analysis of risks to the Company’s brand or reputation associated with expenditures in conflict with publicly stated company values. “Electioneering expenditures” means spending, from the corporate treasury and from its PACs, during the year, directly or through third parties, which are reasonably susceptible to interpretation as being in support of or in opposition to a specific candidate.
1 https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/values-integrity/integrity/activity ; https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2022&id=D000000461 
2 https://update.comcast.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/dlm_uploads/2023/04/Statement-on-Political-and-Trade-Association-Activities-April-5-2023.pdf 
3 https://www.politicalaccountability.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/CPA-Zicklin-Model-Code-of-Conduct-for-Corporate-Political-Spending.pdf 

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
Rothschild & co Asset Management For
VidaCaixa For
Anima Sgr For A political congruence report would help investors better evaluate the company's political activities and how they align with its commitments.
Kutxabank Gestion SGIIC SAU. Against

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