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April 25, 2013

Corporate Donations and the S.E.C.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that triggered an avalanche of corporate political spending also contained a proposal for greater public disclosure from corporations that would prefer to write their checks in the shadows. Transparency, the court advised, would let voters decide for themselves ‘whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests.’

Since that 2010 decision, corporate and Republican opposition has snuffed out Congressional attempts to require donor transparency and accountability. All the more compelling then that the Securities and Exchange Commission, following an impressive petition campaign, is considering a regulation mandating that publicly traded corporations disclose all their political donations to their shareholders.

Corporate donations are not the full sum of the dark money universe, but forcing publicly traded corporations into the sunlight would be an enormous step toward facing the threat of political corruption posed by stealth donations. The petition drive, under way for more than a year, has prompted close to 500,000 comments, a vast majority favoring disclosure. A disclosure regulation could be proposed by the S.E.C. officials in a matter of weeks.”

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Read full New York Times article here

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