- The role of money in politics is a highly contentious issue.
- The company has spent $8.2M in 2012 on state and federal lobbying activities.
- Corporations that donate directly from corporate funds have operating characteristics consistent with firms with growth and free cash flow problems, yet engage in less R&D and investments.
- Studies indicate that political spending creates conflict between shareholders and managers 2 . The Proponent and many other shareholders believe that corporate funds should focus on producing innovative goods and services for the 67 million individuals served by the company.
- Political contributions can negatively affect the company’s reputation with customers and shareholders. According to the Bannan Communications research study, 79% of people polled would refuse to buy a company’s product or services to protest a company’s political spending while 65% would sell stock in the company. Over half of those polled would ask their employer to remove the company from their retirement account.
The shareholders request that the board of directors amend the bylaws to include a policy prohibiting the use of corporate funds for any political election or campaign, including direct or indirect contributions to candidates, and corporate expenditures for electioneering communications.
The proponent believes this policy should include any direct or indirect contribution that is intended to influence the outcome of an election or referendum. It should also prohibit the use of trade associations or non-profit corporations that channel our company’s contributions or membership dues to influence the outcome of any election or referendum. “Expenditures for electioneering communications” means spending directly, or through a third party, at any time during the year, on printed, internet or broadcast communications, which are reasonably susceptible to interpretation as in support of or opposition to a specific candidate.
By prohibiting corporate political contributions our Company will provide leadership to reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics to delegitimize the practice of “pay to play”.
Donating company funds to political candidates’ and public officials’ campaigns does not insure or guarantee that our special interests will be protected and/or expanded, and therefore is not in the best interests of our shareholders and certainly does not increase shareholder value, company credibility or integrity.
“Political Contributions and Related Activity Report”, last modified 2012, http://www.wellpoint.com/prodcontrib/groups/wellpoint/@wp_about_government/documents/wlp_assets/pw_e194125.pdf
 Aggarwal Rajesh, “Corporate Political Contributions: Investment or Agency?” (University of Minnesota, 2012).
 “WellPoint Inc Fact Sheet”, last modified October 2013, http://www.wellpoint.com/prodcontrib/groups/wellpoint/@wp_news_main/documents/wlp_assets/pw_d014892.pdf
 “New Poll: Americans condemn high levels of corporate political spending, overwhelmingly support strong transparency and accountability reforms”, last modified October 2012, http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=3748
 “Citizens Actually United: The Bi-Partisan Opposition to Corporate Political Spending And Support for Common Sense Reform”, last modified October 2012, http://www.demos.org/publication/citizens-actually-united-bi-partisan-opposition-corporate-political-spending-and-support