February 2, 2013
Dear Members of the Securities and Exchange Commission:
It's long past time to end secret political spending by corporations.
I am an indepedent investor with significant direct stock ownership in 91 publicly traded companies and indirect ownership in hundreds more through mutual funds. I read my shareholder ballot materials and annual reports and I am eternally grateful for the legislation that allows me to spot ridiculous executive compensation packages. Overcompensation upsets me because it is my money at risk while executives risk little or nothing except for the shares given to them by people like me. The C-suite is flooded with dollars that should flow to shareholders. I vote accordingly.
I also contribute a significant portion of my income to a range of charities. I know that many of my corporations contribute MY PROFIT DOLLARS to organizations that are in direct opposition to my private efforts. The most offensive conflicts involve supporting climate change skeptics, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and political campaigns of politicians seeking to disassemble existing national safety nets and shift freed cash to the polically well connected. I would most certainly withdraw support of companies using my own dollars against me. I need to know which companies do what. I need you to give me this visibility through regulation. Contrbution disclosure itself would force corporations to consider the public goodwill implications of political activity and guide them to acting for the broader welfare - which is the expected responsibility given with the privilege of incorporation.
So I strongly support the SEC issuing a rule in the near future that would require publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their spending on political activities.
Both shareholders and the public deserve to know how much a given corporation spends on politics (directly and through intermediaries), and which candidates are being promoted or attacked.
Thank you for considering my comment.