News Corp Board Challenged to Disclose Political Spending

Oct 13, 2010, 11:32 ET from The Nathan Cummings Foundation

Shareholder Calls for Full Disclosure at Friday Annual Meeting In Wake of Reported Murdoch Admissions re: GOP, U.S. Chamber Contributions

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF) called on the News Corporation (Nasdaq: NWSA) Board of Directors to fully disclose the Company's political spending to shareholders at the News Corp. shareholder meeting in New York City this Friday, October 15th.  The Foundation's request came on the heels of media reports that News Corp. made separate $1 million contributions from the corporate treasury to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is projecting $75 million in anonymous corporate spending on the November elections.

NCF, a News Corp. shareholder, expressed particular concern about apparent statements from Chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch, that the Company's $1 million contribution to the RGA was not made to further the interest of News Corp. or its shareholders, but was a result of his personal relationship with Republican gubernatorial candidate, John Kasich.  The Foundation also expressed concern over reputational risk for News Corp. connected to the $1 million contribution to the U.S. Chamber, which has recently come under fire for alleged tax fraud and potential violations of federal election laws.  

"The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders to ensure that corporate funds are allocated in ways that serve the Company's interest," said Mr. Lindblom in the letter.  Decrying the "apparent lack of a strategic rationale," Mr. Lindblom expressed concern about the two million dollar expenditures from shareholder assets, calling the apparent use of corporate funds to further the personal relationships or political agenda of the CEO a potential abuse of the corporate treasury.  

"The issue of corporate political spending is particularly sensitive for media companies given the public's expectation that they provide objective news coverage," wrote Mr. Lindblom. "News Corp. has already received criticism over its network Fox News' right-leaning news coverage. As shareholders, we are concerned that additional association with partisan support through contributions to the U.S. Chamber and the RGA could pose further risk to the Company's brand."

Mr. Lindblom indicated that representatives for the Nathan Cummings Foundation will attend the Friday shareholder meeting to seek a response to the concerns raised in the letter.

For comment, please contact Laura Campos at (212) 787-7300, ext. 235. The full text of the letter may be found at http://www.nathancummings.net/news/001164.html#001164.

** NOTE: Please contact Laura Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities, at 212-787-7300, ext. 235, or laura.campos@nathancummings.org. For additional information, visit www.nathancummings.org **

SOURCE The Nathan Cummings Foundation



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