SEC Asked to Require Companies to Disclose Political Donations

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The New York Times reports today on a petition asking the SEC to require public companies to disclose their political donations. Needless to day, business lobbying groups are unamused:

Earlier this month, the leaders of three of Washington’s most powerful trade associations — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable — issued a rare joint letter to the chief executives of Fortune 200 companies, encouraging them to stand against proxy resolutions and other proposals from shareholder activists demanding more disclosure of political spending.

….“The Chamber believes that the funds expended by publicly traded companies for political and trade association engagement are immaterial to the company’s bottom line,” said Blair Holmes, a spokeswoman for the business group, who added that the advocates’ “apparent goal is to silence the business community by creating an atmosphere of intimidation under the cover of investor protection.”

You have to admire the chutzpah, don’t you? Who else but the Chamber of Commerce would have the balls to claim that corporations don’t believe that political donations have any effect on their earnings? I mean, that’s pretty much the whole point of political donations, no?

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