Bruce Herbert, AIF

Newground Social Investment
206-565-1055 cell

Bruce Freed

Center for Political Accountability
202-464-1570 x102; 301-233-3621 cell
SEC to NextEra:
Let Shareholders Vote on Political Spending

SEATTLE and WASHINGTON, DC, March 10, 2020 -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected a challenge by NextEra Energy, the Florida-based electric utility giant (ticker: NEE), that would have blocked a shareholder vote on a proposal which called for disclosure and board oversight of the company’s political spending. NextEra is one of the largest political donors in the utility industry, contributing close to $12 million in corporate funds since the 2010 election cycle.

The SEC action late last week clears the way for shareholders to vote on the disclosure proposal filed by Seattle-based Newground Social Investment. Newground is a wealth manager and Registered Investment Advisor who helps clients ensure that the environmental, social & governance impacts of their investments are positively aligned with their mission or values.

“We are pleased that the SEC held its ground on political spending and disclosure proposals”, said Bruce Herbert, Chief Executive of Newground. “This is an important victory for the shareholder right to speak on matters involving corporate use of shareholder money. The SEC staff made the right call.” 

Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability (CPA), hailed the SEC decision. “It’s disappointing that after a 48.7% vote last year – a near-majority of NextEra shareholders – the company still seeks to keep important parts of its political spending secret. With this SEC decision, shareholders have another opportunity to shine light on how NextEra spends shareholder dollars to influence the political process.” 

The proposal Newground filed is based on a model developed by CPA that has been successfully filed at hundreds of US companies over the past 16 years. The Center is a non-partisan non-governmental organization that is leading the successful effort to bring transparency and accountability to corporate political spending. 

Corporate funds are the largest source of political money donated or spent, running into the hundreds of millions of dollars each election cycle. Much of this spending is secret or only partially disclosed, being run through trade associations, 527 political committees, and nonprofit “social welfare” organizations.

The SEC’s decision comes as the organized business community, led by the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers, has pressured the SEC to limit shareholder use of proxy proposals to engage companies. A key issue is political spending.
CPA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization created in November 2003 to bring transparency and accountability to political spending. To learn more about the Center for Political Accountability visit
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