January 3, 2013 / 3:17 PM / 5 years ago

NY pension fund sues Qualcomm for political records

(Reuters) - New York state’s $150-billion public pension fund sued chip maker Qualcomm Inc. on Wednesday, seeking access as a shareholder to the company’s records on political spending, the state comptroller said on Thursday.

A Qualcomm sign is seen at one of Qualcomm's numerous buildings located on its San Diego Campus February 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The suit was filed in Delaware Court of Chancery, after Qualcomm refused the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s request to inspect records detailing the use of corporate resources for political activities, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees the fund.

The fund, the third-biggest public pension plan in the United States, owns Qualcomm shares valued at more than $378 million as of December 31.

While other companies have agreed to increase their disclosure of political spending in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, Qualcomm has not, the lawsuit said.

A Qualcomm spokeswoman said the company had no immediate comment.

Since at least August 2012, the pension fund has repeatedly attempted to get the information from Qualcomm, but the company has refused to divulge it, the suit claimed.

New York’s pension fund is “concerned that it cannot determine whether senior executives and directors of Qualcomm are spending corporate resources to support their favored political candidates” or on causes that aren’t focused on boosting shareholder value, the complaint said.

Other sources show that in 2012, Qualcomm spent more than $4.7 million on federal lobbying efforts, according to the complaint.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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