GEO Shareholder Proposal Requesting Annual Disclosure of Lobbying Information
Shareholder Proposal Requesting Annual Disclosure of Lobbying Information
The Congregation of St. Joseph, 1515 West Ogden Avenue, La Grange Park, IL, 60526, the beneficial owner of 200 shares of GEO common stock, The Sisters of Providence, 1801 Lind Avenue SW, #9016, Renton, WA 98057-9016, the beneficial owner of 120 shares of GEO common stock, The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, 1015 North Ninth Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233, the beneficial owner of shares of GEO common stock valued at greater than $2,000, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, 02108, the beneficial owner of shares of GEO common stock common stock valued at greater than $2,000, have submitted the following shareholder proposal. We are not responsible for the content of the shareholder proposal and the proponent’s supporting statement, which are presented below as they were submitted to us.
“Whereas, corporate lobbying exposes our company to risks that could impact the company’s stated goals, objectives and ultimately shareholder value, and
Whereas, we rely on the information provided by our company to evaluate goals and objectives, and we, therefore, have a strong interest in full disclosure of our company’s lobbying to assess whether our company’s lobbying is consistent with its expressed goals and in the best interests of shareholders and long-term value.
Resolved, the shareholders of The GEO Group (“GEO”) request the Board authorize the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:
- Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications
- Payments by GEO used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.
- GEO’s membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.
- Description of the decision making process and oversight by the management and Board for making payments described in section 2 above
For purposes of this proposal, a “grassroots lobbying communication” is a communication directed to the general public that (a) refers to specific legislation or regulation, (b) reflects a view on the legislation or regulation and (c) encourages the recipient of the communication to take action with respect to the legislation or regulation. “Indirect lobbying” is lobbying engaged in by a trade association or other organization of which GEO is a member.
Both “direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include efforts at the local, state and federal levels.
The report shall be presented to the Audit Committee or other relevant oversight committees of the Board and posted on the company’s website.
As shareholders, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly. We believe such disclosure is in shareholders’ best interests. GEO does not disclose its trade association memberships nor payments and the portions used for lobbying on its website. Absent a system of accountability, company assets could be used for objectives contrary to GEO’s long term interests.
GEO spent approximately $880,000 in 2010 and 2011 on direct federal lobbying activities (Senate reports). These figures do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation in states. GEO lobbies at the state level with at least 126 lobbyists in 23 states between 2003 and 2011 (National Institute on Money in State Politics) and spent $645,000 in Florida in 2011 lobbying in support of prison privatization (“Companies, special interests poured $127 million into lobbying legislators in 2011,” Sun Sentinel, February 15, 2012).
We encourage our Board to require comprehensive disclosure related to direct, indirect and grassroots lobbying.