In May, 3M Corp. faced activists both inside and outside its shareholder meeting who were angry about 3M’s alleged secret spending on political campaigns. The firm wasn’t alone. Some 14 companies faced a surprising number of shareholder proposals during the first quarter demanding either an end to, or at least disclosure of, political contributions.

And depending on whom you talk to, the so-called Shareholder Spring is either gaining momentum and having an enormous impact on corporate governance coast to coast, or it’s failing miserably. At 3M’s gathering in St. Paul, for instance, the proposal was soundly defeated, garnering only 4.6 percent of the shareholder vote.

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