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Corporate Political Engagement

Advocating Safe, Reliable and Affordable Energy for You

We are very active in the political process. We have offices in Lansing and Washington, D.C., with staff that advocate on behalf of our customers, shareowners and employees. Their job is to inform and shape public policy so that we are able to fulfill our promise to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy related services.

Consumers Energy complies with all federal and state laws governing corporate political participation. In engaging in the political process, the company is committed to upholding its core values and adhering to the highest standards of ethical conduct. All contributions promote interests of the company without political preference of executives.

Consumers Energy’s political participation generally falls into three categories:

  1. Employees for Better Government (EBG): Our state and federal political action committees (PACs) give employees a voice in the political process. EBG is nonprofit, nonpartisan and governed by an employee-run steering committee that’s independent of the company’s officers and boards of directors. Participation in the PAC is voluntary and coercing or pressuring any employee to participate in or contribute to EBG is strictly prohibited.

    The elected members of EBG’s Steering Committee review contribution requests and allocate qualified employee contributions to political and campaign committees as well as to specific candidate campaigns based on criteria that may include:

    • Representation of a state or district where the company has a facility or large concentration of employees.
    • Voting record or announced positions on issues important to us.
    • Demonstrated leadership on key committees of importance to our business.

  2. Corporate political contributions: Federal and state campaign finance laws prohibit us from making direct contributions to candidates and to national and state political parties for general campaign purposes. However, we make contributions for grassroots activities, issue advocacy, voter registration, and other activities consistent with federal and state law. We’re also permitted under Michigan law to make contributions to state and local ballot question committees. All corporate political contributions come from our general funds and are not reflected in utility customer rates.

    Our Board of Directors adopted, upon the recommendation of the Governance and Public Responsibility Committee, a resolution that authorizes the President and Chief Executive Officer of the corporation to approve expenditures for political purposes in amounts not to exceed $10,000 per expenditure; and the Senior Vice President of Governmental and Public Affairs of the corporation to approve expenditures for political purposes in amounts not to exceed $2,500 per expenditure. Any political expenditure over $10,000 requires prior approval of the Board of Directors, and all expenditures for political purposes are reported to the board on an annual basis. All political contributions are reviewed by Legal Counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws. Our political contributions made during the year were all made in compliance with corporate policies.

    In addition, we pay membership dues and provide other financial support to trade organizations. CMS Energy and its affiliates disclose these payments when they exceed $25,000 and when the trade association uses a portion of the money for federal lobbying activities.

    Organization Membership Dues Portion Used for Political Purposes
    Edison Electric Institute $902,994 $241,642
    American Gas Association $509,551 $24,478

    As required by federal law, we disclose on our quarterly lobbying filing with the U.S. Congress those funds supporting federal lobbying activities of national trade associations. To learn more, please review CMS Energy’s lobbying efforts related to the U.S. House of Representatives; CMS Energy’s lobbying efforts related to the U.S. Senate; Consumers Energy’s lobbying efforts related to state government; laws governing political activity at the federal level; and laws governing political activity at the state level.

  3. Employee participation in political activity: The communities we serve are the backbone of our business. We are committed to helping these communities succeed—not just with energy related services, but also with personal and corporate commitments. Every day, our people offer their time, talents and finances to support the places where they live and work.

    We are justifiably proud of the role our people play in helping make the Michigan communities we serve great places to live and work, and encourage them to participate in a wide range of civic activities. This includes employee participation in the political process. They must comply with all applicable legal, ethical and company requirements, including those set forth in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007. In general, employees are prohibited from conducting such actions during normal business hours or utilizing company resources.

    Employees may campaign for public office or support others seeking office on non-work time, and may even secure reasonable time off to do so. The following conditions apply:

    • Employees must obtain written approval from their supervisor before seeking election or appointment to a public office.
    • If elected or appointed, employees must seek approval from their supervisor for reasonable time off without pay to fulfill those duties.
    • To avoid conflicts of interest, employees elected or appointed to public office must excuse themselves from actions or decisions on issues that could impact our business.