November 8, 2013
I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending – and to do so this year. While the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission created the loophole that enables this secret spending, the SEC has the authority to close it.
Publicly listed companies are spending money in secret that rightfully belongs to investors - both individuals as well as group investors such as pension plans. Investors, both current and potential, have the right to know how funds from publicly traded corporations are being used as they consider whether to invest in the company in the first place and/or whether to continue that investment in the future. Such informed decisions cannot be made when corporate monies are spent, on elections or anything else, in secret.
Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much corporations spend on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Sunshine is the best disinfectant for any system plagued by the appearance of, or actual, corruption, mismanagement, and greed. The economic collapse of 2007-08 has sorely tested public faith and trust in corporate governance and practice. The SEC, as the public's watchdog on such for publicly traded companies, needs to help restore this faith and trust by requiring disclosures and posting such promptly on the SEC's web site.
Thank you for considering my comment.