Fed up with corporations spending unlimited amounts of secret money to meddle in politics? Tell the SEC to shine light on corporate political spending.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC came down on January 21, 2010, corporations have been allowed to spend unlimited undisclosed amounts of money to influence American elections and in turn affect policy outcomes. Noting the danger of “secret money” for both American democracy and the shareholders of the companies that are spending in secret, a strong coalition of diverse allies have been working together since the decision to bring corporate spending in politics into the light.
In 2011 a bipartisan committee of leading corporate and securities law professors filed the first petition requesting a rulemaking at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requiring all public companies to disclose their political expenditures. This rulemaking was placed on the agency’s agenda in 2013 by the agency’s former chair Mary Schapiro, but it was removed by chair Mary Jo White in 2014. Additional obstruction occurred when Congressional Republicans inserted a policy rider into appropriations bills in December 2015 – and have reinserted it in appropriations bills every year since – that prohibits the SEC from finalizing, though not from working on, the rule.
After the original petition was filed, 1.2 million comments on the petition – an all-time record – came into the SEC.
For more on the historic campaign for corporate political spending disclosure check out Public Citizen’s report: “The Historic Campaign for Corporate Political Spending Disclosure.”