AMAZON.COM, INC. | Require trade associations to disclose political contributions

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Resolution details
Company ticker
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Adopt or amend a policy
ESG theme
  • Governance
ESG sub-theme
  • Lobbying / political engagement
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
The shareholders of Inc. (“Amazon” or “Company”) ask the Company to adopt a policy requiring that, prior to making a donation or expenditure that supports the political activities of any trade association, social welfare organization, or organization organized and operated primarily to engage in political activities, Amazon will require that the organization report, at least annually, the organization’s expenditures for political activities – including the amount spent and the recipient – and that each such report be posted on Amazon’s website.
For purposes of this proposal, “political activities” are:
- influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to a public office; or
- supporting a party, committee, association, fund, or other organization organized and operated primarily for the purpose of directly or indirectly accepting contributions or making expenditures to engage in the activities described in (a).
This proposal does not encompass lobbying spending.
Supporting statement
As long-term Amazon shareholders, we support transparency and accountability in corporate electoral spending, including indirect political spending that is the subject of this proposal. Misaligned or non- transparent funding creates reputational risk that can harm shareholder value and place a company in legal jeopardy. Without knowing which candidates and political causes its funds ultimately support, our Company cannot assure shareholders, employees, or other stakeholders that its spending aligns with core values, business objectives, and policy positions. Without this information, none of the board, senior management, or shareowners can assess the risks associated with political spending.
The risks are especially serious when giving to trade associations, Super PACs, 527 committees, and “social welfare” organizations – groups that routinely pass money to, or spend on behalf of, candidates and political causes that a company might not otherwise wish to support. The Conference Board’s 2021 “Under a Microscope” report1 details these risks, discusses how to effectively manage them, and recommends the process suggested in this proposal.
Media coverage amplifies the risk a company’s spending can pose, and contributions to third-party groups can also embroil companies in scandal. Public records show Amazon has contributed at least $2.5 million in corporate funds to third-party groups dating to the 2018 election cycle. Beneficiaries of this spending have been tied to attacks on voting rights, efforts to deny climate change, and efforts to impose extreme restrictions on abortion – associations many companies wish to avoid.
It is unclear whether Amazon and its board received sufficient information from these groups to assess (a) the potential risks for the Company and stockholders, and (b) whether the groups’ expenditures align with our Company’s core values, business objectives, and policy positions.
Mandating reports from third-party groups that receive Amazon political money would demonstrate our Company’s commitment to robust risk management and responsible civic engagement.
THEREFORE: We urge a vote FOR the commonsense risk management measures contained in this proposal. 

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