April 25, 2013
I am writing in support of adopting rule 4-637, which would require corporations to disclose their political contributions. A group of shareholder activists, pension fund representatives, and Democratic lawmakers are pushing the S.E.C. to require corporations to report their political spending to investors. And according to the New York Times the agency is preparing for fierce opposition from corporations and lawmakers alike.
As the S.E.C. could propose this new disclosure rule by the end of this month, House Republicans are already trying to introduce legislation that would make requiring disclosure illegal. Despite nearly half a million comments on the proposed rule, the vast majority in favor of its adoption, Republicans think shareholders don't have the right to know how their investment money is being spent.
Even in the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision - which opened the flood gates of corporate political spending - public disclosure was considered the proper check against abuse. Some of our nation's most powerful corporate lobbying groups - like the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - have spoken out against disclosing how much they're spending to buy off our elected leaders. They don't want Americans to know how much corporate money is flooding into Congress, or who these bought-and-paid-for lawmakers are really working for.
As we continue our fight to say that money isn't speech, and corporations are not people, I stand in support of the S.E.C.'s public disclosure rule to make corporations disclose their political contributions.