January 21, 2014
Securities and Exchange Commission
Dear Securities and Exchange Commission,
Rule #4-637 must be a part of the 2014 rulemaking agenda
Many companies obstruct environmental and health actions through their trade and business associations with no disclosure and accountability to policy makers, the public, or even their own shareholders. Given the enormous influence trade groups can have over policy decisions, this lack of disclosure is dangerous. It allows corporations to delay or block policies they don't like and even allows them to publicly misrepresent science. This rule, requiring public companies to disclose political spending, is essential in order to make our policy processes more transparent and hold companies accountable for their political influence.
This SEC rule would require publicly traded companies to disclose more about their political spending, including their support for trade and business associations. This rule has already garnered strong support, receiving nearly 700,000 positive public comments --more than any other rule you have proposed--from citizens, investors, and others concerned about the lack transparency in how these dollars are being spent. Not surprisingly, however, trade groups are pressuring you. Companies can significantly influence important public policy by contributing to organizations like trade and business associations and other dark money groups without accountability for these actions. With no requirement for disclosure of these indirect political donations, the public is left in the dark about how companies are using their money to hinder policies that are in the public interest.
The top priority of companies is to make money - not to care about what is best for the public. Protecting the public is your job and strengthen our democracy through greater transparency about who is actually influencing our public policy decisions.
Please enact rule #4-637. Thank you.
Ms. Betty Sabo