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Poison Pill Rider Would Keep Corporate Political Spending Secret

Dec. 6, 2017

Poison Pill Rider Would Keep Corporate Political Spending Secret

More Than 30 Groups Call on Congress to Stop Hiding Corporate Political Spending From Investors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today joined a diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations in sending a letter (PDF) to U.S. Senate and U.S. House leadership calling on Congress to pass a clean budget with no poison pill riders, particularly one that would stop the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending.

“Congress must stop allowing secret corporate money to disrupt our democracy and instead encourage transparency by allowing the SEC to act on the demands of investors for this information,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen. “This popular policy should not be stymied by a poison pill rider in the budget process. The American public deserves better than a backdoor attack on honest and open democracy.”

“Investors have been calling on companies to be honest about their political spending and disclose details about this critical material information,” said Rachel Curley, democracy associate for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “The SEC received more than 1.2 million comments on the political spending disclosure petition – by far the most comments in the agency’s history. It is time for Congress to stop tying the agency’s hands.”

The organizations that signed the letter represent a broad range of interests, including labor unions, good government organizations, environmental groups, faith organizations, investors, and state and local groups. This year, conservatives in Congress have attempted to attach hundreds of poison pill policy riders into must-pass spending bills. These riders would roll back public protections, put workers at risk, restrict women’s rights, endanger the environment and undermine our democracy.

Read the letter (PDF).