January 8, 2013
I urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending Ė and to do so this year.
During the years I worked as a consultant to pharmaceutical and biotech companies, I was appalled by their lobbying--both blatant and covert--to influence laws and public policies that had been designed to protect the public.
Now, in retirement, I have monies invested in corporate stocks and bonds. Those investments make me a partial owner of those corporations (on a small scale). I think that owners of corporations, no matter how small their ownership fraction, are entitled to be fully informed about any expenditures of the corporation--including any and all expenditures intended to influence candidates, elections, and public policy. And, incidentally, I think that union members similarly are entitled to know how their union dues are spent toward those same ends.
The Supreme Courtís ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission created a formal legal loophole that enables secret spending. I was delighted to learn that the SEC has the authority to close that loophole.
Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much corporations spend on politics and which candidates and ballot initiatives are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be made promptly, in real time, and posted promptly on the SECís web site.
Thank you for considering my comment.
Portola Valley, CA