N.Y. Comptroller Sues Qualcomm on Political Spending

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -

New York’s comptroller has sued Qualcomm Inc. in an attempt to compel the wireless technology company to disclose its political spending to him and other shareholders.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Delaware seeks a court order to inspect company records, saying prior requests for the information have been rebuffed by the San Diego-based corporation. The suit cites studies that say corporate political spending tends to hurt investor returns.

“We think the fullest possible disclosure is what we’re entitled to as shareholders,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. He is sole trustee of New York’s pension fund for public workers, which has 6.1 million Qualcomm shares valued at almost $380 million.

According to the comptroller’s office, the company spent more than $4.5 million on lobbying last year. That figure was based on data compiled by OpenSecrets.org, which showed Qualcomm spent more than $6 million on lobbying in both 2010 and 2011.

Qualcomm didn’t initially respond Thursday to requests for comment.

DiNapoli said the lawsuit is a new tactic that holds promise for getting corporate transparency and accountability for shareholders.