The political process significantly impacts The Dow Chemical Company, through government policies, legislation, and judicial and regulatory decisions. Dow actively participates in the political process through legally permissible advocacy, grassroots efforts, and financial contributions. Dow’s participation in public policy and political engagement continues to focus on issues that are core to Dow’s operations and the markets in which we do business.
Dow is committed to the highest standard of ethical conduct in our involvement in the public policy and political process1. All financial contributions strictly adhere to federal and state laws regarding contribution limits on amount and source, criteria and reporting requirements. Contribution information is a matter of public record and is readily available to interested parties through the Federal Election Commission, IRS and Secretaries of State. In addition, beginning in 2009 Dow will publish on dow.com an annual consolidated report of Dow's corporate political contributions. All political spending activities shall reflect the Dow’s interests and not those of its individual officers or directors.
Federal law prohibits corporate political contributions to candidates in connection with federal elections. Such contributions include: any direct or indirect payment, distribution, subscription, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money, services or anything of value to any candidate, campaign committee, political committee, or political party in connection with any federal election.
Furthermore, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("BCRA") prohibits national party committees, including their affiliates and agents, from accepting or directing corporate contributions for use in connection with non-federal election activities. Thus, unlike in the past, corporations may not make any contributions (federal or otherwise) to a national political party committee (or any affiliate or agent thereof) for voter registration, get-out-the-vote and other party building purposes.
A corporation may contribute to state and local political party committees to the extent permitted by state law, but a corporation may contribute no more than $10,000 per year to a state or local party committee to pay for mixed purpose federal/non-federal activities, i.e., voter registration, get-out-the-vote and other generic campaign activity conducted in the period leading up to a federal election.
Other than stated above, federal election law does not prohibit a corporation from making independent expenditures on behalf of candidates or from making contributions to political organizations and other tax-exempt organizations that engage in voter registration, get-out-the-vote and other non-federal political activities. Such contributions may not be solicited, however, by any national party committee, federal elective officeholder or federal candidate, or any affiliate or agent thereof. Consistent with state and federal election law, Dow expends money for political purposes and contributes to trade associations and tax-exempt organizations as described above and provides additional disclosure on such activity. The Company reports annually any independent expenditures it makes on behalf of candidates. The Company did not make any independent expenditures in 2013.
Individual states maintain jurisdiction over laws governing state political contributions. Where legally sanctioned, the corporation may contribute to state candidates, parties, PACs, committees, and ballot measures provided that expenditures/contributions are specifically authorized and reported to the appropriate state agency.
Effective governance processes are in place to oversee political contributions made by the Company. The EHS&T Committee of the Board of Directors reviews the Company’s public policy and advocacy priorities at least annually.
1 Dow Guidelines for U.S. Corporate Political Contributions incorporates by affiliation the Dow Code of Business Conduct which focuses on Dow's Values: Integrity and Respect for People. Specifically, see Code sections regarding Financial Integrity: Questionable Payments; Conflicts of Interest; and Interactions with the Public: Political Activities.