May 8, 2013
Dear members of the Securities and Exchange Commission:
I am a former SEC ENFORCEMENT ATTORNEY. You trained me in how to analyze the disclosure by companies with respect to how necessary it is for investors to make decisions on whether to buy the stock of that company. I am writing to urge the SEC to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending, but ESPECIALLY spending relating to candidates and issues that are related to and target benefits to its business and its executives and spending that should be illegal at the federal and state level.
The SEC is responsible for disclosure to shareholders. But shareholders have an interest in the public disclosure of illegal and unsustainable spending on twisting public policy to favor government action that is not based on good public policy but on influencing elections, influencing public perception of how industries and businesses work. Investors must know if they are supporting this kind of activity int he same way they need to know if they are supporting bribes to public officials oversess. Because when investors invest in a company whose success is designed to depend on which administration is in office, THAT IS APPROPRIATE DISCLOSURE POLICY UNDER THE CATEGORY OF POSSIBLE GOVERNMENT ACTION.
It is time to "MAN UP" to the responsibilities Congress enfranchised the SEC to fulfill.
The dollar amounts of political spending by corporations and their executives has reached such a level that it can no longer be ignored by investors as the basis for a company's success. There is no reason to trust corporations to self-disclose their "INFLUENCE PAYMENTS". ANY political spending by a key individual or a corporation to a political party, a PAC, a candidate, or any other organization or entity whose purpose is political (and separate disclosure w/r/t lobbyists) should be required as the cumulative amount and effect of these payments has become such an influence on elections as to effectively result in the "purchase" of legislation LIMITED to the TERMS OF OFFICE of those receiving the payments and the policies of governments have become so POLARIZED as to create a CONDITION in the investment industry that investors not only cannot ignore, but that overcomes all other business influences such as product strength, industry factors, competition, marketing, changes in sales, and changes in net income.
Candidates, parties and policies being promoted are no different from those being attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC's web site if they reach a critical number in relation to the expected influence on legislation and if they are not posted, as in 8-K requires, that should be considered an omission and shareholders should be able to sue if the company's business goes south because of political changes. .
Thank you for considering my comment.