One year after nearly half of Duke’s shareholders voted in favor of the company disclosing its political contributions, the company has made little progress to address the shareholder concerns. According to the Center for Political Accountability, from 2013 to 2014 the company made small changes to its political spending policies, like adding board oversight, but it has still fallen far short of the full disclosure that shareholders want.
Given Duke’s track record, shareholders are right to be concerned about the company’s political contributions. In fact, it’s hard to overstate Duke’s role in making North Carolina politics feel like the Wild West. In a recent report, the Institute for Southern Studies (ISS) rated the utility giant as the No. 1 corporate power-broker in the state of North Carolina. ISS ranked Duke fifth in state election spending for dropping $944,250 into state elections in 2012 and 2014, and it rated Duke second in lobbying clout. Taken together ISS writes that Duke is, “a clear leader in its ability to both elect and pressure state lawmakers.” More