BUSINESS
05/08/2012 01:26 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2012

3M Shareholders Reject Proposal To Limit Political Contributions Amid Protest

May 8 (Reuters) - Shareholders of 3M Co on Tuesday rejected proposals that the diversified U.S. manufacturer no longer use corporate funds for political contributions and step up its disclosures surrounding lobbying.

Shareholders at the company's annual meeting also voted down a proposal to split the chairman and chief executive posts, now both held by Inge Thulin, the company said in a statement.

Meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, shareholders approved all board-recommended motions, including an advisory vote on executive pay.

Boston-based Trillium Asset Management had made the proposal that the company cease making political donations, following a 2010 incident when Target Corp became the target of a boycott campaign after contributing to a Republican candidate who opposed gay marriage.

Target, as well as fellow contributor 3M, said they backed the candidate for his positions on business, not social issues.

Opponents of corporate political donations argued that 3M put its reputation at risk by making contributions to potentially controversial candidates.

The board had advised shareholders to allow it to continue making contributions, saying it needed to be "an effective participant in the legislative process."