Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
American Express is a New York City based company that issues credit cards and traveler's checks. It is one of the world's largest travel agencies with more than 2,200 travel offices worldwide. It publishes magazines such as Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure. In 2006, it had sales of $27 billion and profits of $3.7 billion. 
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
American Express has been a corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). See ALEC Corporations for more.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our ExposedbyCMD.org site.
2013 Supreme Court Decision - American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant
The case was brought by a group of small businesses as a class action against American Express (Amex) for alleged antitrust violations. Amex sought to enforce a clause in their contract that said all disputes must be resolved by arbitration (a private arbitrator paid for by Amex) and also barred class action claims. The businesses challenged this clause but the District Court (trial court) sided with Amex and dismissed the lawsuits. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case back to the lower court holding that because the costs the small businesses would face if they had to arbitrate would prohibit them from arbitrating, the class-action waiver was unenforceable and arbitration could not proceed.
On June 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 5-3 decision (Justice Sotomayor recused herself from the case because she sat on the appellate court for one of the appeals) in favor of American Express. The court held: "The FAA Federal Arbitration Act does not permit courts to invalidate a contractual waiver of class arbitration on the ground that the plaintiff’s cost of individually arbitrating a federal statutory claim exceeds the potential recovery." American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, 570 U. S. ____ (2013).
- Paul Bland, Senior Attorney, WORST SUPREME COURT ARBITRATION DECISION EVER, Public Justice, June 20, 2013.
- Stephanie Mencimer, The Supreme Court Just Made It Easier for Big Business to Screw the Little Guy, Mother Jones, June 20, 2013.
- Chris Morran, Supreme Court Deals Another Blow To Consumers, Lets Companies Use Forced Arbitration To Skirt The Law, The Consumerist, June 20, 2013.
American Express gave $278,500 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 41% to Democrats and 55% to Republicans. 4% ($10,000) went to independent Joseph Lieberman (CT-I). 
The company spent $1,460,000 for lobbying in 2006. $220,000 went to two lobbying firms, Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates and Baptista Group, with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. 
As of December 30, 2012.
- Mr. Kenneth I. Chenault J.D., Chairman, Chief Exec. Officer, Chairman of American Express Travel Related Services Company Inc and Chief Exec. Officer of American Express Travel Related Services Company Inc, $6.99M pay & $13.43M exercised options.
- Mr. Edward P. Gilligan, Pres. $6.86M pay & $9.80M exercised options.
- Mr. Daniel T. Henry, Chief Financial Officer, Exec. VP and Chairman of Asset-Liability Committee, $4.30M pay & $9.10M exercised options.
- Mr. Stephen J. Squeri, Group Pres of Global Corp. Services, $5.66M pay & $2.65M exercised options.
- Mr. Daniel Harris Schulman, Group Pres of Enterprise Growth, $5.39M pay & $0.00 exercised options.
Board of Directors
- Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company
- Richard A. McGinn, General Partner, MR Investment Partners
- Charlene Barshefsky, Senior International Partner, WilmerHale
- Samuel J. Palmisano, Former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM
- Ursula M. Burns, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Xerox Corporation
- Steven S Reinemund Dean, Wake Forest Schools of Business; Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo Inc.
- Peter Chernin, Founder and Chairman, Chernin Entertainment, Inc.
- Daniel L. Vasella, Former Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG
- Anne Lauvergeon, Partner and Managing Director, Efficiency Capital
- Robert D. Walter, Founder and Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cardinal Health, Inc.
- Theodore J. Leonsis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, LLC
- Ronald A. Williams, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Aetna, Inc.
- Richard C. Levin, President, Yale University 
World Financial Center
200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10285
- ↑ American Express Profile, Hoovers, accessed August 2007.
- ↑ Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research, project of the Environmental Working Group, Information on American Legislative Exchange Council, archived organizational profile, archived by Wayback Machine December 2, 2000, accessed August 19, 2011
- ↑ Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, "Corporations and Trades Associations that Fund ALEC," Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council, online report, 2003
- ↑ American Legislative Exchange Council, Winning the Debate in the States, organizational annual report, 1992, p. 31, archived in Tobacco Library, accessed April 2012
- ↑ 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed September 2007.
- ↑ American Express lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.
- ↑ American Express Profile, Yahoo Finance, Accessed June 20, 2013.
- ↑ American Express - Investor Relations, Officers & Directors, Organizational Website, Accessed June 21, 2013.