State Comptroller Drops Qualcomm Disclosure Suit
New York's comptroller has dropped his lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc. after the wireless technology company agreed to disclose more information about its political spending. The lawsuit filed Jan. 2 in Delaware sought a court order to inspect company records, saying the San Diego-based corporation rebuffed prior requests for the information. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is sole trustee of New York's pension fund for public workers, which has 5.5 million Qualcomm shares valued at $359 million.
The company said on Feb. 22 that it will post online its contributions to political candidates and political parties, political spending to trade associations and nonprofit social welfare organizations, and contributions to influence ballot measures. "Qualcomm agrees with the New York State Common Retirement Fund that increased transparency for election-related activities by corporations is very beneficial," said Paul Jacobs, CEO and chairman. "While Qualcomm has been developing a new policy on disclosure of political expenditures for some time, engaging with the Common Retirement Fund has been helpful."
According to the comptroller's office, Qualcomm spent more than $4.5 million on lobbying last year. That figure was based on data compiled by OpenSecrets.org, which showed the company spent more than $6 million on lobbying in both 2010 and 2011.
The New York pension fund and other members of the Council of Institutional Investors sent letters to 430 companies in 2010 asking that they disclose political contributions made with corporate funds. In the past two years, the fund filed 27 shareholder resolutions asking for disclosures, reaching agreement with 11 companies, comptroller spokesman Eric Sumberg said. "We have not filed suits against any other companies at this time, but we are reviewing all of our options," he added.