January 12, 2013
I respectfully 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.
“Dark money” groups that accept contributions from corporations, but are not required to publicly identify their corporate donors, spent millions of dollars during the 2012 elections. It is a scandal that money from publicly traded corporations – which belongs to investors – can be secretly spent to distort our democracy.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission created the loophole that enables this secret spending, but the SEC has the authority to close it.
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. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.
As a shareholder (directly in some corporations and indirectly in many others through mutual funds and retirement accounts), I am angered that corporate management can make decisions in secret about how to spend MY MONEY (i.e., profits that they chose to divert to their favored causes and candidates). As a shareholder, I am entitled to know where the money goes. That's money that, if not spent on political causes (or even given to 501(c)(3) corporations with which I may or may not agree), might otherwise be added to whatever dividends I have coming!
Someone must shine a light on this "dark money." It's not healthy for the democratic political process, and it could well be considered a misappropriation of money that belongs to the shareholders. The SEC is in an ideal position to shine that light on these contributions. As a citizen who treasures the ideal of our democracy and also as an investor in many corporations, I urge you to use your authority to require public disclosure of political spending by publicly held corporations.
Thank you for considering my comment.