December 1, 2011
I'm writing about an issue that goes to the heart of what constitutes democracy: the need for the SEC to demand that corporations disclose the recipients of their political campaign contributions. Before the Citizens United decision, CEOs could write checks from their personal bank accounts to support the politicians that best represented their political views. Since Citizens United, however, the same CEOs have been able to donate funds directly from corporate coffers — and in unlimited amounts.
And that, to me, poses the basic problem: the money CEOs are now permitted to donate is, in large part, shareholder money invested by shareholders who don't necessarily hold political preferences identical to those held by the donors. Since the High Court has decreed that money equals speech, isn't permitting corporations to use investors' money on behalf of their favored political candidates abusing those same investors of their right to free, i.e. non-coerced speech?
At the very least, corporations should be required to disclose where this coerced speech is being directed, so that investors can have the information they need in deciding whether or not to keep their assets with the corporation in question.
Thanks for doing what you can to restore the public's faith in our free market system.
Yours very sincerely,