The SEC Should Require Companies to Disclose Political Spending

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should institute regulations to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending.


The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowed corporations, for the first time in a century, to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. Money from corporations’ exceedingly deep pockets is funneled through Super PACs and nonprofit “social welfare” organizations to pay for campaign ads and other political activities with minimal or no disclosure.

Shareholders—the actual owners of the companies—remain in the dark about how their money is being spent. The SEC has the authority and responsibility to craft a comprehensive disclosure regime to ensure that investors in publicly traded companies can make informed decisions about whether companies making political expenditures are acting in the investors’ best interests. Disclosure rules will also provide the public with a better sense of who is supporting their elected officials.

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