As the Occupy Wall Street movement has called for the public financing of our elections and the end of corporate “personhood” we get a great story out of the Cincinnati Enquirer on how the consumer products behemoth first denies then admits, that they buy political influence with their billions:
Procter & Gamble on Thursday disclosed that it donated money last year to a conservative political group in Ohio that supported two Supreme Court candidates and that also supports Senate Bill 5.
The revelation came after P&G told its shareholders in August that it does not use corporate money to support electioneering.
It also comes days before the company’s annual meeting, in which shareholders will vote on a resolution that asks P&G to disclose its political activity and contributions. P&G has opposed the resolution, saying it does not use corporate funds to support political candidates at the federal level and has no plans to. It also said that’s the company’s general policy for state and local elections, too.
But in a government filing Thursday, P&G said it donated $40,000 in 2010 to a group called Partnership for Ohio’s Future. The group was formed in 2006 by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
In 2010, the group supported Republican incumbents Maureen O’Connor and Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, who were both running for re-election to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Corporate support of judicial candidates has been controversial, and groups such as Ohio Citizen Action have called for stronger rules requiring state Supreme Court judges to withdraw from cases in which the parties have made donations to judicial candidates.
The Ohio Chamber group also supports Issue 2, the statewide issue that would keep sweeping new restrictions on collective bargaining for state and local government workers.
P&G shareholder Northstar Asset Management succeeded in getting a resolution before P&G shareholders asking the company to annually disclose its political contributions, including those from its political action committee, the P&G Good Government Fund.
The Boston-based fund manager owns 17,887 P&G shares.
“Political contributions from corporate funds or a corporate PAC can call into question a company’s brand and reputation,” said Julie Goodridge, Northstar’s CEO. “They’re putting themselves at risk for bad publicity and boycotts around what has become a fairly hot topic.
“P&G’s board opposes the resolution and said in its proxy statement sent to shareholders in August that “corporate funds are not used in support of or in opposition to political candidates, political parties, political committees and other political entities organized and operating for political candidates.”
In case you missed it, the head for this is a whole bunch of P&G brands.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the titans of business stuck to making toilet paper and dog food, instead of trying to spend shareholder money on buying public policy?
That they chose to lie about it first, should tell you that even they know they are doing something disgusting.
It’s sad that a company known for clean, is getting it’s reputation dirty by mixing in business with politics.