Amid intensifying shareholder pressure on companies to be more transparent about their political spending, Goldman Sachs has moved to prevent its shareholders from voting to force executives to disclose their efforts to influence politicians, according to corporate documents reviewed by International Business Times. The banking behemoth, which has been boosted by taxpayer-financedbailouts and has landed former executives in key government jobs, asked federal regulators to bless its attempt to block the initiative in a letter sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission — an agency now chaired by a former outside attorney for Goldman Sachs whose spouse also worked at the bank.
Goldman’s request to the SEC comes in response to shareholders’ proposed resolution to require the bank to release an annual report documenting the policies governing the company’s lobbying, and disclosing all payments made by the company for direct and indirect lobbying of public officials.
Between 2010 and 2016, Goldman has spent more than $26 million on federal lobbying, on top of what it spent at the state level where “disclosure is uneven or absent,” wrote the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), which represents more than 1,000 religious organizations and has spearheaded the resolution. The group also said the bank does not comprehensively disclose its memberships in and payments to powerful lobbying groups — even as at least one of those groups has lobbied the National Economic Council headed by former Goldman president Gary Cohn.