Qualcomm agrees to disclose political spending online

The New York State Common Retirement Fund filed a suit against Qualcomm in January so it could review the company’s records to see how shareholder funds are being spent for political purposes. The fund said it filed the complaint after Qualcomm refused its request to inspect the company’s books.

“As a shareholder in public corporations, the Fund has a right to be properly informed about the use of corporate funds to influence the political process,” DiNapoli said in a statement last month. “Without disclosure, there is no way to know whether corporate funds are being used in ways that go against shareholder interests.”

Qualcomm released a list of its political contributions and expenditures for fiscal year 2012 on its company website. According to the disclosure form, the wireless company made a $1 million contribution to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an advocacy group that supports deficit-reduction reforms. Qualcomm also gave roughly $1.8 million to trade organizations, including $385,000 to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, $50,000 to Business Forward and $25,000 to Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank.

The San Diego, Calif.-based company also disclosed that it gave $90,000 to 501(c)(4) organizations. It gave $25,000 to Immigration Voice, a group that advocates for high-skilled immigration reform; $25,000 to nonpartisan grassroots group No Labels; and $15,000 to the Ripon Society, a Republican think tank.

“Qualcomm agrees with the New York State Common Retirement Fund that increased transparency for election-related activities by corporations is very beneficial,” Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said in a statement.  “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.”

Qualcomm spent $6.4 million on lobbying in 2012, according to lobbying disclosure forms.

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