From: Leahy for Senate on behalf of M.B. Hardy Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 3:39 PM

Subject: Require disclosure of corporate spending in politics. 4-637

February 1, 2012

Securities and Exchange Commission

Dear Commission,

Right now, Super PACs don't have to disclose their unlimited corporate donations. That means they can keep the public in the dark about who's funding the attack ads that bombard their TV screens daily.

That's why I'm joining with the 14 United States senators who formally asked you to use your regulatory authority to require that corporations disclose their spending in elections.

SEC: Exercise your regulatory authority to require public disclosure of corporate political contributions.

We were told, long ago, how concentrated wealth can impede democracy. Nothing's changed. Here's why.

"...Neither body to jail nor soul to damn." - Lord Edward Thurlow (1731-1806) describing a new British invention, the corporation.

Distributed, reliable "information (not money) is the currency of democracy." - Thomas Jefferson

"The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of all the rich men in the country." - John Adams

"Popular Government, without popular information, ... is but ... Farce or a Tragedy. ... People who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. ... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." - attributed to A. Lincoln, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864.

"It is our job to make women unhappy with what they have." - B. Earl Puckett, Allied Stores Corp. 1953

"Madison Avenue is a very powerful aggression against private consciousness. A demand that you yield your private consciousness to public (corporate) manipulation." - Marshall McLuhan (1911-80)

"Corporations, which previously had been considered artificial entities with no rights, were accorded all the rights of persons, and far more, since they are 'immortal persons', and 'persons' of extraordinary wealth and power. Furthermore, they were no longer bound to the specific purposes designated by State charter, but could act as they choose, with few constraints." - Noam Chomsky

"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." - Alex Carey, Australian social scientist, 1995

"The greatest threat to democracy is the increasing concentration of major electronic media in ever fewer hands." - Rep. David Price (D-NC)


M.B. Hardy