GlaxoSmithKline, also known — to old-timers — as
GlaxoWellcomeSmithKlineBeecham, has elected to halt all political
contributions. Almost. The corporation itself will not make
any contributions, after having made a total of $585,425 to candidates
in the USA in 2008. It will facilitate PAC activity by its employees.
LONDON (AP) — The London-based international drug firm GlaxoSmithKline
announced Monday a global ban on corporate political contributions.
The primary impact will be in the United States and Canada, where the
company has been making contributions to political candidates. The new
policy will also prevent contributions in the more than 100 other
countries where the firm does business.
“We need to ensure that there is no implication whatsoever that
corporate political contributions provide us with any special
privileges,” said Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty, who said all
political contributions had been properly reported.
He said the new policy is part of a companywide effort to be more
transparent in dealings with governments, politicians and candidates…
…Despite the change, the company will still support a voluntary
political action committee in the United States that will allow
eligible employees to make political contributions.
I am not sure how much it reflects a new-found sense of ethics, or
merely cost-cutting. Either way, it is welcome news.
However, I doubt that the campaign contributions ever made much
difference. It is the lobbying that really matters, and that is
where the big bucks go, as reported in the Triangle Business Journal:
GSK’s announcement Monday also will not affect the
company’s lobbying practices. According to GSK’s most recent corporate
responsibility report, the company spent $8.24 million on federal
lobbying activities in the U.S. in 2007.
I wonder what the lobbyists had to say, that was worth over eight million dollars?