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Amazon.com shareholder proposal for disclosure of political spending; company meeting

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Amazon.com has come under criticism for working with ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), a corporate lobbying group that writes model legislation in favor of corporate and conservative causes. See Wal-Mart Joins Amazon to Pitch State Law for Tax Benefit Plan, wherein it says:

"ALEC Exposed"

The Center for Media and Democracy created a website last month called ALEC Exposed where it posted about 800 model bills from ALEC's library that previously were available only to members. The bills include measures that have passed in dozens of states, including laws requiring voter identification; measures requiring states to pull out of cap-and-trade programs, which are designed to curb carbon emissions; and bills that prohibit states from implementing the national health-care law.

Common Cause, a Washington-based group that advocates for limits on money in politics, said companies affiliated with ALEC, along with their employees, spent more than $38 million electing state legislators and governors in 2009 and 2010.

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The non-profit investigative reporting group ProPublica on Aug. 1 published on its website a guide for reporters to trace ALEC bills to their states.

The exposure doesn't appear to have hurt. More than 2,000 people signed up for the conference this week, about a 25 percent increase from last year's meeting, said Weber. The group has also attracted many more corporate sponsors, according to its program.

Shareholder Proposal

Amazon.com is holding its company shareholder's meeting at 9:00 AM on May 24 at the Seattle Art Museum.  An investor has submitted the following propsal:

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Beginning of Shareholder Proposal and Statement of Support by Investor Voice:

RESOLVED: Shareholders hereby request that Amazon provide a report, updated semiannually, disclosing Amazon's:

1. Policies and procedures for political contributions and expenditures (both direct and indirect) made with corporate funds.

2. Monetary and non-monetary political contributions and expenditures that are not tax-deductible. This includes, but is not limited to, contributions to or expenditures on behalf of political candidates, parties, committees, and other political entities that participate or intervene in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office; as well as any portion of any dues or similar payment made to any tax exempt organization used for an expenditure or contribution that (if made directly by Amazon) would not be deductible. The report shall include:

-- An itemized accounting that includes the identity of the recipient as well as the amount paid to each recipient of Amazon's funds that are used for political contributions or expenditures as described above;

-- Identification of the position of the Amazon person or persons who participated in the decision to make the political contribution or expenditure;

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The report shall be presented to the Board's audit committee (or other relevant oversight body) and posted on Amazon's website.


Long-term shareholders of Amazon support transparency and accountability in corporate spending on political activities. These activities include direct and indirect contributions to candidates; political parties or organizations; independent expenditures; or electioneering communications for federal, state, or local candidates.

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DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See http://WALiberals.org and http://TruthSite.org for my writing, my (more...)

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