Citizen’s United opened the door for corporate spending and when Target decided to flex their new political muscle, it blew up in their face due to a disclosure law Minnesota passed in response to the Supreme Court ruling. Target, Best Buy and a growing number of corporations are now looking at voluntarily enacting policies to disclose their political spending in hopes of avoiding fallout that threatens their bottom line. Target has set up a policy page about their ‘Civic Activity‘ that is the product of months of criticism and boycotts following the exposure of contributions through state filings.
It’s nice to see corporations moving in the direction towards disclosure, but self-imposed regulations are a far cry from sweeping disclosure laws needed to provide accountability on how the money flows in our political system. The lesson that companies should learn from this episode is that people care about how money is spent in elections.
If pressure from citizens can change corporate policies than we hope that same pressure can inspire Congress to improve disclosure laws.