ExxonMobil spent $99.43 million from 2010 – 2017 on federal lobbying. These figures do not include state lobbying expenditures, where ExxonMobil also lobbies but disclosure is uneven or absent. For example, ExxonMobil spent $3,860,715 on lobbying in California from 2010 – 2017. Exxon also lobbies abroad, reportedly spending between €3.75m and €4m on lobbying in Brussels for 2017 (“Revealed: ExxonMobil’s Private Dinner with Cyprus’ Top EU Brass,” EU Observer, August 12, 2018).
We commend ExxonMobil for ending its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (“Exxon Mobil Joins Exodus of Firms from Lobbying Group ALEC,” Reuters, July 12, 2018). However, serious disclosure concerns remain. ExxonMobil belongs to the American Petroleum Institute, Business Roundtable (BRT), Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which altogether spent $260,410,014 on lobbying for 2016 and 2017. Both the BRT and NAM are lobbying against shareholder rights to file resolutions. ExxonMobil does not disclose its memberships in, or payments to, trade associations, or the amounts used for lobbying.
We are concerned that ExxonMobil’s lack of lobbying disclosure presents reputational risks when its lobbying contradicts company public positions. For example, ExxonMobil supports the Paris climate agreement, yet was named one of the top three global corporations lobbying against effective climate policy, (“When Corporations Take Credit for Green Deeds Their Lobbying May Tell Another Story,” The Conversation, July 17, 2018), and the Chamber undermined the Paris climate accord (“Paris Pullout Pits Chamber against Some of Its Biggest Members,” Bloomberg, June 9, 2017). As shareholders, we believe that companies should ensure there is alignment between their own positions and their lobbying, including through trade associations.