January 12, 2013
I am calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission to remember that your primary responsibility is to protect the interests of the public and of the investor, NOT to corporate executives, who far too often are allowed to avoid accountability -- or even identification -- of their actions.
Notoriously, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision has given corporations more rights and fewer responsibilities than human Americans have with respect to political speech. However, both the public and certainly shareholders should have the right to know how shareholder 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 in a timely manner– and to issue this rule this year.
Notoriously, this past year corporate executives laundered hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder money to "non-profit" front groups for use in political campaigning. As things stand, there is zero accountability to anyone for ANY of this money, which does not belong to the executives doing the laundering.
I am calling on the SEC to establish rules mandating prompt public disclosure by publicly traded companies of how much money they give to political activities (for or against particular candidates and issues) and to which entities, directly or via intermediaries.
It would be better if a rule could be passed calling for shareholder approval of making political contributions in the first place, but realistically speaking, that's not going to happen. But certainly a MINIMUM rule mandating at least disclosure should be established.
Edward Jay Allan