The results of candidate elections and ballot initiatives and their impact on public policy can have a profound effect on FirstEnergy and its stakeholders. FirstEnergy believes it has a responsibility to its shareholders, customers and employees to participate in the political process and, where appropriate and legally permissible, to make contributions in connection with elections for public office and expenditures in connection with non-candidate state and local ballot initiatives such as referendums and constitutional amendments.
FirstEnergy has decision-making and oversight processes in place for political contributions and expenditures to ensure such contributions or expenditures are legally permissible and in the best interests of FirstEnergy. Accordingly, this policy describes the criteria for certain political contributions and ballot initiative expenditures made with corporate funds and the process for approving such contributions and expenditures.
This policy governs legally permissible corporate political contributions and grassroots lobbying communications, including contributions to candidate campaigns and to entities operating under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, and expenditures for non-candidate state and local ballot initiatives.
Corporate Political Participation – Overview
Under federal law, there are limits on a corporation’s ability to give direct corporate contributions to federal candidates and national political parties. Accordingly, FirstEnergy does not contribute corporate funds directly to federal political candidates or parties.
Each state has different laws, rules and regulations governing political contributions in state and local elections. Any corporate political contributions by FirstEnergy are made in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Our contribution decisions are based on what is in the best interests of FirstEnergy and not based on the personal preferences of our executives.
Industry Groups, Trade Associations and Related Organizations
In certain circumstances, where permitted by law, and with the approval of our External Affairs Department, FirstEnergy may use corporate funds for the payment of dues and/or contributions to section 527 organizations (tax exempt organizations that engage in political activities), section 501(c)(4) organizations and trade associations that may use a portion of such dues for political and lobbying activities.
Corporate Political Participation – Process and Criteria
Any request for a FirstEnergy political contribution and grassroots lobbying communications, including contributions to an entity operating under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code or an expenditure for a non-candidate state and local ballot initiative, shall be submitted to the External Affairs Department for review and approval. The External Affairs Department will review the request to confirm that the proposed contribution or expenditure is in the best interests of FirstEnergy and, working with the FirstEnergy Legal Department, confirm that any contribution or expenditure we consider complies with applicable election laws, rules and regulations.
The External Affairs Department will keep accurate records of any corporate political contributions and take actions to ensure that where required, complete and accurate disclosures to government entities are made.
FirstEnergy and our lobbyists are required to file reports with the U.S. Congress and state agencies on a regular basis disclosing information about their lobbying activities. The reports are available for review on the websites of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as noted below.
- FirstEnergy maintains and files Lobbying Disclosure Act Registration and Reports (Form LD-2) with the U.S. Congress. These reports detail the particular bills and issues on which individual lobbyists engaged, as well as the total lobbying expenses incurred. These reports may be found at: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/Public_Disclosure/LDA_reports.htm
- FirstEnergy and its registered federal lobbyists must also file semi-annual reports detailing, among other things, disbursements and personal and/or direct contributions to federal candidates. These forms (LD-203) may be found at: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/Public_Disclosure/LDA_reports.htm
In many cases, State reports, if required, are also made available for review on the applicable state agency website.
Political Action Committee
FirstEnergy encourages its employees to be active members of their communities. Along with participation in civic, charitable and volunteer activities, this includes participation in the political process. All eligible employees may make voluntary contributions to FirstEnergy’s Political Action Committee (FE PAC). The FE PAC is directed by a board of employees which makes and approves all decisions regarding the FE PAC’s political contributions budget.
FE PAC contributions are publicly disclosed as required on the website of the Federal Election Commission at http://www.fec.gov/.