Outcome: Successfully Withdrawn. Beginning in 2014, Amgen will annually disclose its membership in trade associations along with the amounts the trade associations spend from its fees for non-deductible lobbying activities.
Whereas: Corporate lobbying exposes Amgen to risks that could affect its goals, objectives, and ultimately shareholder value; and
We rely on the information provided by Amgen to evaluate goals and objectives, and therefore, have a strong interest in full disclosure of Amgen’s lobbying to assess whether it is consistent with expressed goals and in the best interests of shareholders and long-term value.
Resolved, shareholders request the Board authorize the preparation of a report, at reasonable cost and updated annually, disclosing:
1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.
- Payments by Amgen used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.
- Amgen’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
- Description of the decision making process and oversight by management and the Board for making payments described in sections 2 and 3 above.
For purposes of this proposal, “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 Amgen is a member. Both “direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include local, state and federal level efforts.
The report shall be presented to the relevant Board oversight committee(s) and published on Amgen’s website.
As shareholders, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly. We believe such disclosure is in shareholders’ best interests. Absent a system of accountability, company assets could be used for objectives contrary to Amgen’s long-term interests.
Amgen spent approximately $19.3 million in 2011 and 2012 on direct federal lobbying activities (Senate reports). These figures do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation in states. Amgen lobbies at the state level with at least 208 lobbyists in 37 states between 2003 and 2012 (National Institute on Money in State Politics). Amgen is listed as a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the top five lobbying spenders in the country. In 2010 and 2011, PhRMA spent more than $40 million on lobbying. In 2007 it was a top 10 lobbying spender. Amgen does not disclose its trade association memberships, payments or the portions used for lobbying on its website.
Illustrating the reputational risk and scrutiny this issue presents, a January 2013 New York Times story entitled “Big Senate Gift to Drug Maker”, reported how Amgen aggressively lobbied for a provision that evaded Medicare cost-cutting controls and will cost Medicare up to $500 million.