American Electric Power – Disclosure of Political Contributions (2006 – 2007)
Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn
Resolved, that the shareholders of American Electric Power (“AEP”) hereby request that the Company provide a report, updated semi-annually, disclosing AEP’s:
- Policies and procedures for political contributions and expenditures (both direct and indirect) made with corporate funds.
- Monetary and non-monetary political contributions and expenditures not deductible under section 162 (e)(1)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code, including but not limited to contributions to or expenditures on behalf of political candidates, political parties, political committees and other political entities organized and operating under 26 USC Sec. 527 of the Internal Revenue Code and any portion of any dues or similar payments made to any tax exempt organization that is used for an expenditure or contribution if made directly by the corporation would not be deductible under section 162 (e)(1)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code. The report shall include the following:
- An accounting of AEP’s funds that are used for political contributions or expenditures as described above;
- Identification of the person or persons in the Company who participated in making the decisions to make the political contribution or expenditure; and
- The internal guidelines or policies, if any, governing the AEP’s political contributions and expenditures.
The report shall be presented to the board of directors’ audit committee or other relevant oversight committee and posted on the company’s website to reduce costs to shareholders.
Stockholder Supporting Statement
As long-term shareholders of AEP, we support transparency and accountability in corporate spending on political activities. These activities include direct and indirect political contributions to candidates, political parties or political organizations; independent expenditures; or electioneering communications on behalf of a federal, state or local candidate.
Disclosure is consistent with public policy and in the best interest of AEP’s shareholders. Absent a system of accountability, company assets can be used for policy objectives that are not shared by and may be inimical to the interests of AEP and its shareholders.
AEP contributed at least $200,000 and possibly more in corporate funds since the 2002 election cycle. (http://www.politicalaccountability.net/content.asp?contentid=418) However, its payments to trade associations used for political activities are undisclosed and unknown.
Trade Associations engage in political activities that may support or conflict with AEP positions. For example, AEP has made significant efforts to claim leadership in addressing the problem of Global Warming. In contrast, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) – of which AEP is a member – continues to take a strong position against action on Global Warming. Without disclosure, it is impossible for shareholders to know about AEP’s payments to trade associations, including NAM, and how these payments are used for political activities, including those that may conflict with company positions on Global Warming.
Relying on publicly available data does not provide a complete picture of political expenditures. AEP’s Board and shareholders need complete disclosure to be able to fully evaluate the political use of corporate assets. Thus, we urge your support for this critical governance reform.