Your money for corporate campaigns?

Newly empowered by the Supreme Court’s disastrous ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporate executives are ready to spend unprecedented millions to influence upcoming elections.

If you or someone you know has a 401(k), a similar retirement account or other investments, the corporations funded by these investments could be part of the problem.

Don’t let families’ nest eggs become political weapons for the corporate agenda. If a majority of shareholders tell a corporation to stay out of politics, then the corporation should do exactly that.

Corporations aren’t people, but shareholders are. The Shareholder Protection Act (H.R. 4790) proposed by Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) would empower shareholders to vote on whether or not to allow executives to spend corporate money on political campaigns.

Craig Holman, Public Citizen’s government affairs lobbyist, explains:

This legislation would require CEOs to secure shareholder approval of corporate political budgets annually and board of directors approval of individual political expenditures. It also would require that both shareholders and the public be fully informed as to how much the corporation is spending on politics. These disclosures must also be published on the Internet. […]

Corporate treasuries should not be playgrounds for CEOs. Responsible corporate governance requires informed shareholders, capable of holding management accountable and ensuring that spending decisions are made in the best interests of the business.

Any household with a 401(k) invested in stocks or mutual funds — nearly one out of every two today — has a stake in how the corporate money in those funds is spent.

The 2010 elections are right around the corner, and CEOs are eager to use investors’ money to promote the corporate agenda. Now is the time to stand up to corporate power!

Tell your representative to support the Shareholder Protection Act.

Flickr photo by urban_data.