From: Leahy for Senate on behalf of William Killpatrick Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 2:09 PM

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

February 1, 2012

Securities and Exchange Commission

Dear Commission,

In the best of times, corporations secretly funneled millions of dollars to political candidates through "Government Relations" departments, often aligned with corporate media relations or law departments.

Now there's no need for secrecy or third parties or any other folderol. Just give the money to Super PACs and nothing needs be disclosed. The vast majority of Americans agree the SCOTUS was wrong, dead wrong, in its decision re: Citizens United. But since the SCOTUS is not going to reverse its decision, it's time for the finely tuned system of checks and balances built into American government to kick it. That means, simply:

The SEC must use its regulatory power to force corporations to disclose any and all political contributions, regardless of where or how those contributions are made.

In 1835 (sic), French essayist Alexis de Tocquville predicted the ultimate demise of "this American experiment in self-governance." Why? Because he understood that capitalism -- which rewards the consolidation of resources and power, is diametrically opposed to a democracy striving to provide a level playing field through the ideal of one man / one vote.

Today we stand on the precipice of the cliff de Tocquville's prescient writings predicted the United States would approach and, ultimately, not be able to prevent itself from jumping off. Will the SEC really not act and, in turn, lead the charge over the cliff with a mighty cry of "Geronimo!"?

I'm joining with the 14 United States senators who formally asked the SEC to use its regulatory authority to require that corporations disclose their spending in elections.

SEC: Exercise your regulatory authority to require public disclosure of corporate political contributions. Or, be willing to accept history's condemnation of each SEC member as a political hack unwilling to stand up for the principles upon which this country was built.


William Killpatrick