Political accountability

Code of Ethics principle number 11: “We do not make contributions on behalf of Eaton to political candidates or parties, even where lawful.”

Statement of Eaton’s philosophy on political spending

Eaton does not provide corporate resources to political candidates or parties. Our Code of Ethics specifically states: “We do not make contributions on behalf of Eaton to political candidates or parties, even where lawful.”

We do operate a federal political action committee and use our employee contributions to support candidates we feel can help advance a business community agenda. Eaton does not, however, make contributions to “527 groups” such as governor’s associations or super-PACs, nor do we make independent expenditures directly in support of, or opposition to, candidates or campaigns.

From time to time, Eaton will support issue campaigns that have an impact on the communities in which we live and work. Eaton bases this support solely on the positive impact such issues will have on our community; in the past, we have supported local health and human services and school levies. No such contributions are made without the approval of the SVP of Public and Community Affairs, and in no event are such contributions based on the political preferences of our executives.

Eaton does support lobbying initiatives in alignment with issues of importance to the company through personal contact by employees, contact by lobbyists under contract to Eaton, and by trade associations of which Eaton is a member. 

Statement of the oversight role played by the governance committee

The governance committee of Eaton’s board of directors meets annually with the senior vice-president of public and community affairs. At that meeting the committee reviews Eaton’s policy on political expenditures, as well as the categories listed below, to ensure that all expenditures have been made in compliance with this policy:

  • Eaton’s political contributions
  • Eaton’s public affairs priorities
  • Eaton’s lobbying expenditures

Description of federal and state expenditures for lobbying activities

Eaton’s lobbying activities are undertaken at all levels of government by:

  • Eaton employees, some of whom are registered lobbyists and some of whom have technical expertise in the issue area being discussed.
  • Professional lobbying firms being paid to lobby particular issues on behalf of Eaton.
  • Trade associations where Eaton is a member and where the position of the association aligns with the position of Eaton.

Eaton political spending in 2020

  • Total US expenditure -- $998,000
  • Trade association component -- $372,000
  • Outside lobbyists -- $435,000
  • In 2020, Eaton contributed $25,000 to an organisation advocating for the passage of a tax levy to support the Cleveland Municipal School District.