A non-binding proposal for disclosure by a foundation is not enough to serve the public good.
Goldman Sachs under pressure to reveal lobby ties
Should the bank name the groups it helps? Investors to vote May 24
By Ronald D. Oral - MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The Needmor Fund, a small foundation based in Toledo, Ohio, wants Goldman Sachs to lift the veil on its lobbying activities and the advocacy groups it backs financially.“Goldman Sachs has become a target for public criticism recently,” said Needmor executive director David Beckwith. “As owners we are concerned that the company uses its power and money in a responsible way as it seeks to influence public policy.”The fund, which has roughly $24 million in assets, has set up a shareholder vote at the company’s May 24 annual meeting on a nonbinding proposal calling on Goldman GS -1.16% to reveal its lobbying activities — in detail.Dozens of other U.S. public corporations are, like Goldman, facing pressure from a variety of shareholder groups to shine a light on their lobbying work and bankrolling of political candidates.
But as a lightning rod for anger since the financial crisis, Goldman’s policies are ripe for heightened scrutiny in the debate.Earlier in April, the firm paid a $22 million penalty to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that it didn’t have policies to prevent analysts from sharing nonpublic information with the firm’s traders. In March, Goldman was beset with a cause celebre over one of its executives who announced his resignation via a New York Times op-ed bemoaning the culture at the firm to be “as toxic and destructive” as he has ever known it.
All the while, Goldman has been a central player in the financial services industry’s response to the Dodd-Frank financial-oversight legislation.
Part of their lobbying focus is directed at government agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and bank regulators including the Federal Reserve while regulations are being written. Both, which are writing regulations based on the statute.Goldman also is lobbying lawmakers on energy, tax, banking and housing policy issues, according to congressional reports.
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