CORPORATE REFORM COALITION:
May 2, 2012
Corporate Reform Coalition Breaks Record for Comments Sent to Securities and Exchange Commission on Corporate Political Spending
Statement of the Corporate Reform Coalition
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.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Center for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS)
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City
Governor Pat Quinn, State of Illinois
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York
State Treasurer Janet Cowell, North Carolina
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, California
State Treasurer Rob McCord, Pennsylvania
City Controller Wendy Greuel, Los Angeles
Representative William A. Current, Sr., North Carolina House of Representatives
Representative James Pilliod, New Hampshire House of Representatives
County Commissioner Toni Pappas, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Democracy for America
Domini Social Investments LLC
Adam M. Kanzer, Esq, Managing Director and General Counsel
Green Century Capital Management
Kristina Curtis, Senior Vice President
New Progressive Alliance
League of Conservation Voters
People for the American Way (PFAW)
Social Equity Group
Ron Freud and Duncan Meany
U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG)
Trillium Asset Management Corporation, LLC
Shelley Alpern, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
Walden Asset Management,, a division of Boston Trust
Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President, Director of ESG ShareownerEngagement
West Virginia Citizen Action