Marathon Petroleum – Lobbying Spending Disclosure (2015)
Outcome: Successfully withdrawn after the company published on its website significantly improved disclosures of political and lobbying spending disclosures. In addition to direct spending disclosures, the website disclosures include aggregate totals of indirect spending. Since aggregate totals is not best practice, we will continue to engage the company and encourage it to provide itemized amounts for indirect spending.
Lobbying exposes Marathon Petroleum Corporation (“MPC”) to risks that could affect its stated goals, objectives, and ultimately shareholder value, and
We rely on the information provided by MPC to evaluate goals and objectives, and we, therefore, have a strong interest in full disclosure of its lobbying to assess whether its lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and in the best interests of shareholders and long-term value.
Resolved, shareholders request the Board to authorize the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:
1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.
2. Payments by MPC used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.
3. MPC’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
4. Description of the decision making process and oversight by management and the Board 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 MPC 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 Audit Committee or other relevant Board committees and posted on MPC’s website.
As shareholders, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly. Absent a system of accountability, company assets could be used for objectives contrary to MPC’s long-term interests.
MPC spent approximately $7 million in 2011 – 2014 on direct federal lobbying activities (Senate Reports). These figures may not include grassroots lobbying to influence directly legislation by mobilizing public support or opposition and do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation in states. MPC does not disclose its memberships in, or payments to, trade associations, or the portions used for lobbying. MPC also does not disclose its contributions to tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council.
MPC has an interest in the outcome of a number of high profile and controversial public policy issues – such as the Alberta Tar Sands, waste from its Detroit refinery, renewable fuel standards, and oil exports – that may have implications for its business and sound public policy.