From: Leahy for Senate
January 31, 2012
Securities and Exchange Commission
The Supreme Court's majority decision in Citizens United goes against centuries of common law. Edward Coke, in his compendium of English common law, the Institutes of the Laws of England, makes clear that corporate "persons," as entities with no finite lifetime, may be subjected to significantly different laws than govern human beings. For example, they may be forbidden to accept gifts of property, since the property thereby is alienated from laws governing inheritance.
I would argue that requiring corporations to disclose their donations to Super PACs would be one step towards bringing the notion of corporate "persons" back in line with law in the English and American tradition. As with issues of inheritance and alienation of property, so too there is a significant public interest to be served in requiring that corporate persons do what human beings might not be required to do: disclose their political interests by disclosing their political contributions.
Please, therefore, use your regulatory authority to require that corporations disclose their spending in elections.