Four more companies have agreed to adopt disclosure and board oversight of political spending with corporate funds, the Center for Political Accountability (CPA) and Green Century Capital Management Inc. announced today.

The agreements bring to 44 the number of U.S. public companies ranked in the Standard & Poor's 100 that embrace this corporate governance standard and continues the momentum seen in the 2009 proxy season.

The four firms, all in the S&P 500, are Entergy (NYSE: ETR), Heinz (NYSE: HNZ), Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) and the Hartford (NYSE: HIG). The latest additions bring the overall number of companies adopting political disclosure to 65.

The companies were first approached about political disclosure last July. At that time, the CPA and its shareholder advocate partners wrote to the 63 S&P 100 companies that had not yet adopted CPA's framework for political disclosure. Thirty-four companies responded and the CPA and its partners entered into dialogues with 27 companies. These dialogues led to some of the agreements announced today.

Later this month, the CPA and its partners will send a similar letter to an expanded group of companies, including those in the S&P 100 that have not yet adopted political disclosure, asking them to do so before the 2010 proxy season opens.

According to Freed, the companies have agreed to disclose payments to trade associations and other tax-exempt organizations (501 (c)(4)s) that are used for political purposes in addition to their soft money contributions. "This brings transparency and accountability to the full range of company political spending," he said.    

The organizations are part of a nationwide effort of close to 30 socially responsible investors that is seeking to bring transparency and accountability to corporate political spending. The initiative was launched by the CPA in late 2003.