NiSource Inc. | Lobbying Expenditures Disclosure at NiSource Inc.

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
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
Resolved, the stockholders of NiSource request the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:
- Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.
- Payments by NiSource used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.
- NiSource’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
- Description of management’s and the Board’s decision-making process and oversight for making payments described in sections 2 and 3 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 NiSource 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 Nominating and Governance Committee and posted on NiSource’s website.
Whereas clause
Whereas, we believe in full disclosure of NiSource’s lobbying activities and expenditures to assess whether its lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and stockholders’ interests.
Supporting statement
Supporting Statement
NiSource spent $3,307,000 from 2019 – 2021 on federal lobbying. This does not include state lobbying, where NiSource also lobbies, for example drawing attention for lobbying on a bill blocking cities from banning natural gas in Ohio.1
Companies can give unlimited amounts to third party groups that spend millions on lobbying and undisclosed grassroots activity.2 NiSource discloses its trade associations where a portion of dues had been used to lobby, disclosing lobbying amounts exceeding $25,000, leaving disclosure gaps.

NiSource is leaving out all dues lobbying amounts falling below $25,000.

Disclosing only dues leaves a loophole to make additional payments that would not be disclosed under a “dues” disclosure policy.3

NiSource’s disclosure leaves out the Chamber of Commerce, which has spent $1.8 billion lobbying since 1998, despite listing an executive as serving on its Taxation Committee.

And NiSource does not disclose its contributions to groups which write and endorse model legislation, such as sponsoring the American Legislative Exchange Council.4
NiSource’s lack of disclosure presents legal and reputational risks when it hides payments to third- party groups. Highlighting these risks, peer FirstEnergy was fined $230 million for funneling $60 million through a third-party group in an Ohio bribery scandal.5 S&P notes the Ohio scandal has increased “scrutiny of how utilities use ‘dark money’ groups.”6 And NiSource’s Ohio lobbying has recently drawn scrutiny amid a record-high rate increase request, with scandals reportedly clouding trust in Ohio’s utility regulation commission.7
We urge NiSource to expand its lobbying disclosure.

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