Bank of America Corporate Political Contributions Policy Statement
This statement sets forth basic principles concerning the company's stance on political contributions and activities. Together with our other policies and procedures, included in our Code of Conduct and Political Action Committee (PAC) governance documents, it guides our company's and associates' approach to political involvement. By following this statement and our other policies and procedures, by adhering to applicable laws and regulations, and by applying sound judgment to political activities, we can further demonstrate our commitment to becoming the world's most admired company.
As a global financial services company, Bank of America must be - and is - committed to participation in the political process in a manner that is consistent with solid corporate governance practices and in compliance with legal requirements. It is in this spirit that we encourage our employees to be active in our democratic society and provide them opportunities to do so through the PAC program and other voluntary activities.
Bank of America Political Action Committee Program
Bank of America maintains a PAC program to allow the Company's employees to be engaged in the political process. Where permitted by applicable law, Bank of America underwrites the costs of administering the PAC program, but is prohibited from directly contributing to the PACs. The PAC program is funded only through employees' voluntary personal contributions. These contributions are reported to relevant federal, state, and local campaign finance agencies as required by law, and are available here:
To fulfill their mandate for leadership, integrity, and effectiveness, Bank of America's PAC program administrators adhere to established governance and compliance procedures that ensure consistent funding decisions and compliance with all campaign finance laws and regulations applicable to the financial services industry.
Contributions from the PAC program support candidates, parties, or committees whose views on specific issues are consistent with Bank of America's interests. Consideration is given to candidates who represent the communities we serve and who show support for policies and initiatives that are important to the Company. PAC program contributions are made without regard to the private political preferences of the Company's Executive Management Team or any other Company executive.
Trade Association Memberships
Bank of America often shares interests with groups that advocate and shape public policy positions on issues that are important to the financial services industry and the global business community. We believe that we are better when we are connected to others as we work to bring about consensus and advocate for issues of importance to us and the communities we serve. However, our membership in and payments to specific trade associations or other organizations does not mean that we endorse every position or issue that these organizations may support. Our principal memberships in financial industry and certain other trade associations that receive more than $25,000 from us annually are listed below.
When Bank of America makes payments to these organizations, including membership fees and dues, we restrict the organization from using the funds for any election-related activity at the federal, state, or local level, including contributions and expenditures (independent or otherwise) in support of, or opposition to, any candidate for any office, ballot initiative campaign, political party committee, or PAC.
We do regularly communicate with government policymakers, public officials and regulators at the federal, state and local levels in order to protect and advance the long-term goals and interests of our company, customers, stockholders, and economy. We also monitor legislative activities, analyze policy and regulatory trends, comment on policy and regulatory proposals and support and promote advancement of public policies. In 2016, Bank of America Corporation spent $2,280,000 on federal lobbying expenses which includes employee time spent on lobbying, and associated travel and overhead expenses, as well as payments to external consultants and lobbyists and trade association dues used for lobbying. These federal lobbying expenses are publicly disclosed on quarterly reports filed with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and Secretary of the U.S. Senate pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as amended, and can be found here.
Corporate Political Contributions
Bank of America and its affiliates do not make corporate contributions to candidates for public office, political parties, or PACs, and do not use corporate funds to make independent political expenditures.
In appropriate circumstances, Bank of America may make contributions to non-candidate organizations such as political convention host committees or inaugural committees, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Bank of America discloses an itemized list of the recipients and amounts of such contributions as required by law. In 2016, Bank of America made contributions to the following 527 organizations:
It is the policy of Bank of America that any payments made to 527 organizations shall only be used for operational and administrative purposes and not to be used to support or oppose any candidate for U.S. federal, state, or local office, or to support or oppose any ballot initiatives. Additionally, payments to 527 organizations may not be transferred to any federal, state, or local PAC, any other form of political committee, or any other entity that makes contributions or expenditures, independent or otherwise, to support or oppose any candidates for U.S. federal, state, or local office, or to support or oppose any ballot initiatives.
Additionally, Bank of America may occasionally make contributions to groups organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, including but not limited to ballot measure committees and other social welfare organizations, but does not do so to support the election of any specific candidate or for the purpose of funding specific expenditures or communications. In 2016, Bank of America made such contributions to the following 501(c)(4) organizations at the direction of the Public Policy Department:
In 2016, Bank of America made no contributions to ballot measure committees at the direction of the Public Policy Department.
Employee Political Contributions and Activities
Bank of America encourages informed participation in governmental, regulatory, and elective processes. Bank of America respects the rights of its employees to support issues and candidates of their choosing, and employees may elect to make personal political contributions, either directly or through company-sponsored or other political committees as permitted by applicable local, state, and federal laws, as well as the laws of any applicable jurisdiction outside of the United States. Employee contributions are not reimbursed by Bank of America.
Additionally, Bank of America employees are encouraged to participate in political activities on their own time and in accordance with their individual desires and political preferences. When engaging in political activities, apart from Bank of America responsibilities, employees are expected to make it clear that they are acting as an individual and not as a representative of the Company.
Employees who wish to accept an appointment to public office or file as a candidate for election must first obtain approval consistent with Bank of America policy to avoid any conflict of interest.
Compliance and Monitoring
The Bank of America Code of Conduct guides us in all that we do. The Code, which is grounded in our company's values, provides basic guidelines of business practice, as well as professional and personal conduct, that all employees are expected to adopt and uphold.
The Code influences how we do business as we continue to build a stronger, more streamlined and customer-focused company. The Code covers a range of issues from anti-bribery and anti-corruption to our risk framework and workplace safety. Our Code specifically covers how our employees may engage in the political process and how we interact with representatives of all levels of government on behalf of Bank of America.
All political activities carried out on behalf of Bank of America are managed by the Public Policy Department leadership, who report to the Corporate Communications and Public Policy Executive. The Corporate Communications and Public Policy Executive is responsible for the department's policies, activities and legal compliance with the advice of the Compliance Department and legal counsel. The Public Policy Executive reports not less than annually to the Corporate Governance Committee, which is comprised solely of independent members of our Board of Directors, on significant policies and practices concerning political contributions, major lobbying priorities and principal trade association activities that relate to the Company's public policy objectives.
In general, Bank of America employees may make personal contributions, within applicable legal limits, to political candidates, political parties, political action committees, and other entities that make political expenditures. Financial industry regulations and state or local laws prohibit employees of particular lines of business or employees with certain coverage responsibilities from making certain political contributions or engaging in certain political activities. Bank of America has identified the employees who are covered by such restrictions and requires that those employees pre-clear any contributions with designated Compliance personnel.
Bank of America maintains a robust government relations and political activity compliance program. We are committed to complying with internal policies, all relevant state, federal, and international laws and regulations including SEC Rule 206(4)-5, MSRB Rule G-37, CFTC Rule 23.451, and applicable state and local restrictions on corporate political activity. All contributions made and disclosed by Bank of America are in compliance with Bank of America's internal policies.
For additional information concerning Bank of America's political activities and related policies and procedures, contact Bank of America's Public Policy Department.