After the 2010 election cycle brought an onslaught of corporate campaign contributions, the Corporate Reform Coalition – made up of institutional investors managing a combined total of $800 billion in assets, as well as public officials, legal scholars, good government groups and CEOs – called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules on corporate political spending. Ten prominent corporate and securities law professors filed a petition with the SEC in August of 2011, urging the Commission to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending. The petition has since garnered a number of supportive comments filed with the SEC from investors, including mutual fund managers, good corporate actors, good government groups and other stakeholders.
The petition calls on the SEC to ensure that shareholders be told how corporations they “own” are spending their money. It took a while for the public to realize that corporate executives were using millions of dollars of other people’s money to influence the outcome of elections. In addition this money was being used to develop a wide range of public policy issues, including such things as environmental protection, public health and safety and financial regulatory reform, to name just a few. The request to the SEC is simply to require companies to disclose these political payments so that investors can evaluate and mitigate the risks.
Source: Public Citizen
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