News Briefs

11/08/2012

Corp Fin May Recommend Proposal Mandating Disclosure About Political Spending

By Cydney Posner

The WSJ reports that the Corp Fin is considering recommending a proposal that would mandate disclosure of corporate political spending and lobbying activities. According to the article, the idea for the proposal was triggered by a rulemaking petition submitted to the SEC last year by a group of academicians. The SEC has received over 300,000 comment letters on the petition. Currently, some companies voluntarily make disclosure about the uses of corporate resources for political activities, but there is no SEC requirement to do so, and most companies "are hesitant to disclose the donations, saying it is part of ordinary business operations." The petitioners argued that the information is necessary to allow investors to hold corporations accountable, especially since the decision in Citizens United. In addition to the petition, there is also pressure on Corp Fin from the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending, and one of the SEC commissioners has given a speech advocating rulemaking. According to the article, there have also been a record number of shareholder proposals related to corporate political spending and lobbying activities submitted in the 2012 proxy season.

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