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Tag Archive: Center for Political Accountability

Law professors push for corporations to disclose political spending

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With corporate political spending--some of it secret--expected to explode in the 2012 election cycle, a group of law professors is petitioning the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to make a formal policy requiring corporations to disclose such expenditures to shareholders and the public.

“Disclosure of corporate political spending is necessary not only because shareholders are interested in receiving such information, but also because such information is necessary for corporate accountability and oversight mechanisms to work,” reads the petition, which is headed by Lucian A. Bebchuk of Harvard Law School and Robert J. Jackson, Jr of Columbia Law School ...

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Corporate Accountability

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Our friends at the Center for Political Accountability (CPA) received a great plug by Jeffrey Birnbaum in today's edition of The Washington Post. CPA's mission is to bring transparency and accountability to corporate political spending.

CEOs and other corporate officers have traditionally kept shareholders in the dark about the company's political contributions. CPA believes that large corporate political spending distorts the American political process while not necessarily serving the interests of the company or its shareholders. And lack of transparency exacerbates the problems.

CPA is helping build a movement among shareholders and activists groups to push companies to disclose publicly their political giving. They work with shareholders to submit proposals requiring disclosure to investors of political contribution policies, plus the amount, recipient and business purpose of each contribution.

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Corporate Political Disclosure

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Over the past few years a movement among shareholders and activist groups has formed to push companies to publicly reveal their political contributions. While corporations are banned from giving directly to candidates for federal office some states have not banned direct corporate contributions and other groups, like nonprofits, 527s, trade associations, and other political groups, also receive corporate money. The Financial Times reports that five companies are jumping on this transparency bandwagon:

Five large US companies, including American Express and Xerox, will bow to shareholder pressure on Thursday and agree to disclose all their political spending.

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