January 18, 2012
I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process. In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor's money on political activity in secret. This is something that affects both my political life and my personal life. I want to know if my money is being spent to further political causes to which I am opposed and which may cost me a great deal of money in the long run. Money spent to reduce the taxes of the highest-income citizens means either a reduction in service to people like me, or an increase in my taxes. Money spent to privatize Medicare means greater expense for people like me. Just as Republicans argue, in "right to work" laws, that union members should not be required to contribute to a cause they don't support, I should not be required to support causes I don't support. But without disclosure I can't know how my money is being spent.
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. I believe the Supreme Court assumed that there would be disclosure when making their ruling, and this would fulfill that expectation.
Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC's web site.
Thank you for considering my comment.