Google Inc. (Alphabet Inc.) | Report on Lobbying Activities at Google Inc. (Alphabet Inc.)

18.98% votes in favour
AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Governance
ESG sub-theme
  • Lobbying / political engagement
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
stockholders request 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 Alphabet 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. Description of management’s and the Board’s decision-making process and oversight for making payments described in sections 2 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 Alphabet 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 and posted on Alphabet’s website.
Whereas clause
full disclosure of Alphabet’s lobbying activities and expenditures to assess whether its lobbying is consistent with Alphabet’s expressed goals and stockholders’ best interests.
Supporting statement
Alphabet fails to provide an annual report breaking out its lobbying payments by federal, individual states, trade associations (TAs) and social welfare groups (SWGs). Alphabet spent $93,960,000 on federal lobbying from 2015 – 2020. This does not include state lobbying, where Alphabet also lobbies but disclosure is uneven or absent. For example, Alphabet spent $1,895,971 lobbying in California from 2015 – 2020. Alphabet also lobbies abroad, spending €5,750,000 as the top lobbying spender in Europe for 2020.1

Companies can give unlimited amounts to third party groups that spend millions on lobbying and undisclosed grassroots activity. These groups may be spending “at least double what’s publicly reported.”2

Alphabet lists support of 378 TAs, SWGs and nonprofits for 2020, yet fails to disclose its payments, or the amounts used for lobbying. Alphabet belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, which have spent over $2 billion on lobbying since 1998, supports SWGs that lobby like Americans for Tax Reform and Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and funds controversial nonprofits like the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)3 and Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).

Alphabet’s lack of disclosure presents reputational risks when its lobbying contradicts company public positions. For example, Alphabet believes in addressing climate change, but the Chamber and CEI undermined the Paris climate accord. Alphabet signed a statement opposing state voter restrictions, yet the Chamber lobbied against the For the People Act.4 Alphabet has “funded a bevy of political groups, including those producing positive polling, and engaged in other fingerprint-free tactics designed to deter regulators.”5 And while Alphabet funds IWF, IWF is a partner of Stop Corporate Tyranny6 and has promoted opposition to school mask mandates.7

We urge Alphabet to expand its lobbying disclosure.

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