October 6, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission
Dear Securities and Exchange Commission,
I am writing to urge you to return rule #4-637 to your agenda this year for swift enactment.
This rule, requiring public companies to disclose political spending and funding of trade and business associations, is essential to making our policy processes more transparent and holding corporations accountable for their political influence.
With no requirement for corporations to disclose political donations or funding of organizations, the public is left in the dark about how companies are using their money to hinder policies that are in the public interest.
This proposed rule has received more than one million comments of support--more than any other SEC rule. And 81 percent of Americans believe that corporations should only spend money on political campaigns if they disclose that spending publicly. Commissioners should not ignore this overwhelming public support and cave to pressure from business interest groups who want to continue to operate in secret.
This remains a vexing problem primarily due to industry's ability to curry favor with elected officials. The corrupting influence of money in our political system is undermining our democratic traditions and discouraging Americans from voting and/or running for office. This ominous development may well end our experiment in representative democracy unless we alter this decades-long trend. For the sake of the republic, we must amend the US Constitution to state that corporations are not people (and do not have constitutional rights) and money is not speech (and thus can be regulated by state and/or federal campaign finance laws). Short of accomplishing this, no other reform of significance will be achieved. The moneyed interests will turn any reform to their benefit, often at the expense of the nation as a whole.
Please enact rule #4-637.