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Despite Company Claims, Eli Lilly Fails to Disclose Its State Lobbying Spending for Half the Country

New Analysis Released as Eli Lilly Shareholders Prepare to Vote on Proposal to Increase Lobbying Transparency

Washington, D.C. — Today Public Citizen released an analysis of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly’s voluntary lobbying disclosures, revealing how the company’s self-professed “extensive” voluntary disclosures fall short of full disclosure and illustrate the need for mandatory disclosure requirements to ensure greater transparency of corporate lobbying.

The analysis examined the state lobbying activity that Lilly voluntarily disclosed through its website in a document titled “State Lobbyist Activity and Monitoring, 2023.” This document contains links to state lobbying disclosure forms whose filing is mandatory and which Lilly appears to have compiled with. However, in most cases, the state disclosure requirements did not include lobbying spending information or information about the issues lobbied on.

According to Public Citizen’s analysis, in 52% of the state lobbying disclosure documents Lilly provided –accounting for 25 out of 48 states – the company did not disclose how much money it spent on state lobbyists. In 73% of the lobbying disclosure documents Lilly provided – for 35 out of 48 states – the company did not disclose the specific issues or bills lobbied on in that state. In only 23% of the documents Lilly provided – for 11 out of 48 states – did Lilly disclose both the amount it spent on state lobbyists and the issues or bills it lobbied on.

“While Lilly talks a big game on its lobbying transparency, a closer look at what they’re actually disclosing reveals that investors and the public are in the dark when it comes to Lilly’s state lobbying,” said Jon Golinger, Democracy Advocate for Public Citizen. “Misalignment between a company’s statements in public and its lobbying activities behind closed doors can create reputational risks that may damage investor value. The best protection against those risks is full disclosure of a company’s lobbying activities.”

Shareholders will vote on a proposal to increase the company’s lobbying disclosure at the company’s annual meeting on May 6. In the Eli Lilly Board of Directors’ statement opposing the proposal, the Eli Lilly Board wrote: “Lilly already publicly discloses the information requested . . . Lilly makes extensive disclosures regarding its direct and indirect lobbying expenditures in its Political Participation Website . . .”

The lobbying disclosure shareholder , sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Pension Plans Master Trust, requests an annual company report to shareholders disclosing policies and procedures governing lobbying, all payments used for direct or indirect lobbying as well as grassroots lobbying communications, membership in and payments to tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, and the board and management’s decision-making process for making those lobbying payments.

This work is aligned with a broader campaign led by Public Citizen and the Corporate Reform Coalition to strengthen corporate lobbying disclosure by requiring all U.S. companies to fully inform investors about their spending on lobbyists. Last November, five U.S. Senators – Senators Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, John Fetterman, Jon Tester, and Tina Smith – sent a letter to the Securities Exchange Commission urging it “to use its existing authority to issue rules requiring disclosure of corporate lobbyist expenditures to shareholders.”