On Tuesday, National Legal and Policy Center presented a proposal at ConocoPhillips Company’s annual shareholder meeting that would require greater transparency and itemization from the corporation about its lobbying activities and expenditures.
The company’s board of directors opposed our proposal, as explained on page 147 in its proxy statement.
Good morning, I am Paul Chesser, director of the Corporate Integrity Project for National Legal and Policy Center.
ConocoPhillips argues against our proposal for a lobbying disclosure report, because they say they already report much of the information in their public disclosures.
In other words, they expect you, the shareholder, to search on the Internet through dozens, if not hundreds, of governmental websites for ConocoPhillips’s disclosures.
The Company says it would be “an undue administrative burden” to have to produce such a report that puts the information all in one place for shareholders.
The bottom line is, they want YOU to bear the undue administrative burden of spending countless days and hours searching for the Company’s lobbying disclosure information.
Now we also continue to be puzzled by ConocoPhillips’s continued advocacy for a “carbon tax,” which is only a means to raise prices on the kinds of energy that they produce, and that actually work in the real world.
This makes it even more urgent for the Company to be more transparent about its lobbying activities and expenditures.
These anti-fossil-fuel radicals want to destroy our way of life by waging an all-out attack against the corporate entities that don’t sufficiently comply with their destructive agenda.
They have gone after many of the largest financial institutions in the country, demanding that they meet their so-called Net Zero targets, which are a fantasy, and to stop funding fossil fuel projects.
Large banks including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were confronted with three shareholder proposals each this year, to attack their financing of the oil and gas industries.
Meanwhile, Conoco’s top two industry competitors, Exxon and Chevron, also are fighting off a multi-front war from climate zealot shareholders.
So all the Big Banks, and the two biggest oil companies, are under total assault from these Soros-funded environmental pressure groups.
But ConocoPhillips remains unscathed.
Why is that?
Four of the eight shareholder proposals at Chevron, the country’s second-largest oil and gas company, challenged them on their greenhouse gas emissions, Net Zero, climate, or a related topic.
And at the top dog, ExxonMobil, eight of the 13 shareholder proposals this year come from anti-fossil fuel interests.
And as we all know, two years ago Exxon’s board endured a full-on insurgency from a fossil-fuel-hating hedge fund, which succeeded in inserting three directors on their board.
Did that historic event scare the directors and executives at ConocoPhillips into silence and compliance with the climate alarmists’ agenda?
Because what other explanation can there be for ZERO anti-fossil fuel shareholder proposals this year for ConocoPhillips, other than the Company somehow bought off the climate propagandists’ silence?
After all, payoffs are really what this is all about – it’s one big grift.
We can’t help but think that more extensive disclosure of Conoco’s lobbying activities might shed some more light on this.
At least Exxon this year seems fed up, and they have started to push back (see page 77).
For example, Exxon explains to shareholders in this year’s proxy statement that “there are some anti-oil and natural gas activists who use the SEC’s shareholder proposal process to further their own interests…in conflict with the interests of many of the Company’s other shareholders.”
Exxon adds that “These activist firms…acquire a minimal ownership stake in the Company…to support resolutions ultimately designed to eliminate oil and gas investments…”
This is the kind of pushback we’d like to see more of from the oil majors.
And ConocoPhillips could use a little courage like that.
But instead Conoco’s directors and executives seem to hide in fear, begging for a carbon tax.
As I said at last year’s annual meeting, the predictions of the climate alarmists always fail to materialize, yet no one calls them on it.
They have cried Chicken Little for decades with ZERO evidence to back them up.
It’s time for ConocoPhillips’s directors and executives to exercise real leadership, and to show they have a backbone to stand up to the climate bullies.
It’s to that end that we seek greater transparency from ConocoPhillips about its lobbying expenditures, to provide assurance that the company truly is acting in the best interests of shareholders, customers, and of our country.
So please vote for Proposal number 10.
Read NLPC’s shareholder proposal for the ConocoPhillips annual meeting here.
Listen to Chesser’s presentation of the proposal at the ConocoPhillips annual meeting here.
(ConocoPhillips Chairman/CEO Ryan Lance pictured above).