In the push for corporate political spending reform there is a growing movement to pressure the Securities and Exchange Commission to step in an require publicly traded companies to disclose political activities.
In addition to yesterday’s rally at the SEC building which highlighted the need for disclosure of corporate spending in elections, concerned citizens have been submitting comments requesting the SEC act. Groups, as participants in the Corporate Reform Coalition, also pressured the commission to act through an ambush of public comments submitted to the commission. Currently, more than 75,000 people have submitted comments to the agency.
“The message from Americans could hardly be louder or clearer,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “People who own publicly held companies have a right to know how their money is spent on politics. If corporate officers won’t disclose that information willingly, then the SEC has the responsibility to protect shareholder interests by compelling disclosure.”
Added Lisa Gilbert, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, “The sheer diversity of the comments that have flooded the SEC is simply astounding. A wide array of stakeholders – from former major mutual fund managers to current investors to academics to good government groups – have all weighed in supporting this measure. The SEC should react now and create this essential rule to protect investors.”
Also at the action, Bill de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate, held a giant clock to symbolize that time is ticking for the SEC to act. Immediately after the rally, de Blasio hopes to meet with SEC Chair Mary Schapiro to discuss the need for transparency in corporate spending and to call on all of the commissioners to provide a timeline on when they will respond to this petition. Already, one sitting commissioner, Luis Aguilar, has voiced his support for the disclosure measure.
Photo from 401K via flickr.