April 17, 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 Courtís ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investorís money on political activity in secret.
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.
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 SECís web site.
When a corporation in which I own shares makes a political contribution, then I am, effectively, making a share of that contribution, whether I want to or not. As a shareholder (i.e., part owner) of that corporation, I should have the right to know what organizations and political causes I am supporting, and I should be able to register my approval or disapproval of the action. At the very least, I should have the option of getting out of my holding in the company if the I disagree. To exercise that option, I need to know where corporate money (MY money as a shareholder) is going. The officers and directors should not be able to make a contribution on my behalf when I don't even know about it.
Just look at all the disclaimers an individual has to sign in order to make a contribution. Corporate secrecy about political contributions is a sneaky way to bypass those rules and make contributions on behalf of others--most of whom have no way of knowing how their money is spent.
As a shareholder in several large corporations, I feel that this cloak of secrecy is an abrogation of my rights.
For the reasons stated above, I respectfully urge you to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.
Thank you for considering my comment.