Stating that in this political climate, “corporations have to question whether any spending on political causes is in shareholders’ interests,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called on eight companies in which the state’s Common Retirement Fund is invested to make comprehensive disclosures.
“You know what? After what we’ve gone through, maybe corporations should consider not making any of these donations at all,” DiNapoli told Capital Tonight in reference to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
When asked why the disclosure of political spending is so important, DiNapoli said it’s simply smart corporate governance and it enhances accountability.
“In terms of supporting certain candidates or certain political organizations, for a company to give corporate money, I think it compromises the integrity of the corporate bottom line,” he said. “We call for sunlight, and at a minimum, disclosing where your spending is.”
Out of the eight corporations the comptroller’s office mentioned in its press release, two have so far complied: Hanes and Champion have both agreed to disclose all political spending, “including payments to trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations that could be used for electoral purposes in an annual report.”
Capital Tonight also asked the three-term state comptroller whether Gov. Kathy Hochul had given him any heads-up regarding her term limits proposal, which she made in her State of the State address on Wednesday.
“The short answer is yes,” DiNapoli said. “But it wasn’t a week-long heads-up. It was a brief heads-up.”
The comptroller said while he doesn’t support term limits, and is indeed running for a fourth term, he doesn’t take the proposal personally.
“More importantly from my perspective is the ban on outside income,” DiNapoli said, referencing another of Hochul’s ethics proposals. “That was an issue clearly that complicated the last few months of the previous governor. I think that makes sense.”