Corporate Advocacy

April 15, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 12
Should companies take a stand on political issues?
By Lisa Rabasca Roepe

Introduction

Corporations have been lobbying politicians for decades on issues such as tax cuts, government regulations and trade policy. In recent years, however, companies have begun wielding their political clout to influence policy on a variety of social and political issues, from LGBTQ rights to climate change to the war in Ukraine. Not everyone agrees that businesses should get involved. Critics say political advocacy is not the purpose of a company, and entering the fray only further divides Americans. Yet as trust in government and the media has declined, the public has looked to corporations and CEOs to fill the void and speak out. Employees and consumers, especially among younger generations, expect the companies they work for or patronize to support like-minded social, environmental or political values. In response, investors are increasingly urging corporate boards to engage on social issues. Yet, Congress and state legislatures have not always responded to corporate pressure — and, in some instances, corporate advocacy has sparked a consumer backlash.

Photo of recently shuttered McDonald's restaurant in Pushkinskaya Square, Russia, on March 13, 2022. (AFP/Getty Images/Contributor)
McDonald's shuttered its Russian restaurants, including this flagship location at Pushkinskaya Square in Moscow, in March in response to President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Companies are increasingly being pressured to take positions on social and political issues, but some think such corporate advocacy is divisive. (AFP/Getty Images/Contributor)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Lobbying and Special Interests
Apr. 15, 2022  Corporate Advocacy
Sep. 29, 2017  Think Tanks in Transition
Jun. 06, 2014  Regulating Lobbying
Jul. 22, 2005  Lobbying Boom
Dec. 26, 1997  Regulating Nonprofits
Dec. 15, 1989  Getting a Grip on Influence Peddling
Jun. 20, 1986  Think Tanks
Sep. 26, 1980  Special-Interest Politics
Jun. 30, 1978  Corporate Assertiveness
Dec. 13, 1950  Revision of the Lobby Act
May 08, 1946  Congressional Lobbying
Mar. 07, 1928  Regulation of Congressional Lobbies
Jun. 06, 1925  Trade Associations and the Law
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and Elections
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights: African Americans
Civil Rights: Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Issues
Climate Change
Congress Actions
Conservatism and Liberalism
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Data and Statistics
Domestic Issues
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Economic Development
Equal Employment Opportunity & Discrimination
Export Sanctions and Restrictions
Financial Institutions
General Employment and Labor
General Social Trends
Infectious Diseases
International Economic Development
International Law and Agreements
Internet and Social Media
Journalism and the News
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
Regulation and Deregulation
Retail Trade
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Unions and Labor-Management Relations
War and Conflict
Work and the Family