Corporate Reform Coalition Breaks Record for Comments Sent to Securities and Exchange Commission on Corporate Political Spending

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Corporate Reform Coalition Breaks Record for Comments Sent to Securities and Exchange Commission on Corporate Political Spending

Statement of the Corporate Reform Coalition

WASHINGTON - A record number of people agree: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should regulate corporate political spending.

As of today, more than 178,000 comments have flowed into the agency, thanks largely to the unique bedfellows in our Corporate Reform Coalition, which includes institutional investors managing a combined total of $800 billion in assets, as well as public officials, legal scholars, good government groups, environmental organizations and more. This is a huge milestone: We have set the all-time record for comments submitted to the SEC.

Coalition members urged the agency – and encouraged their members and the public to weigh in – to create rules that would push corporate political spending into center stage. Specifically, the SEC should shine light on the corporate political activity of all publicly traded companies.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – the case that opened the floodgates to corporate cash in elections – strongly endorsed comprehensive disclosure requirements. The SEC could and should put these assumed requirements in place for the publicly traded companies they oversee.

Several prominent law professors filed a petition with the SEC in August, urging it to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending. Numerous others have joined their voices to the call for SEC action, from state treasurers to representatives and senators to the former CEO of one of the country’s biggest mutual funds, John Bogle of Vanguard. Now,  average investors and the public are getting in on the act and are calling for reform as well.

Mandating transparency is well within the SEC’s authority. The SEC should help the public and shareholders hold CEOs accountable for what they spend in politics.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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