SEC Mulls Rule to Force Donation Disclosures

Thursday, 01 Sep 2011 03:25 PM

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The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a rule that would force publicly traded companies to disclose political contributions in annual proxy statements sent to shareholders. A group of law professors put forth the proposal, The Washington Post reported.

“Many shareholders recognize that the interests of executives and directors with respect to political spending might differ from those of shareholders,” Lucian Bebchuk, a Harvard Law School professor who co-chaired the group of professors, told the Post. “Such shareholders are naturally concerned when, as is commonly the case, their company provides them with no information about its political spending.”

The proposal, which would not cover privately held companies that have provided the bulk of corporate political spending, is part of the continued fallout from the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010 ruling that legalized independent corporate political spending, the Post reported.

Bradley Smith, with the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that opposes regulating political speech, told the Post that “this is just part of the general overreaction to Citizens United. Even before Citizens United, corporations could spend in 28 states, including New York, California, Delaware, and Illinois.”

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