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Part of ALEC's ability to keep manipulating our political system is it is allowed to hide who funds it. Corporations are pouring untold amounts of money into ensuring that corporations with tremendous financial leverage have the laws of this country favor their pocketbooks. ALEC is the tool that these corporations use to ensnare politicians into their web. The SEC is looking at making these corporations declare their spending to shareholders. This will ensure that the pension fund you depend on is isn't being dismantled by ALEC using the pension funds money itself.

Corporations are secretly spending billions of dollars on politicians to do their union busting. (That's how No Rights At Work got passed in Michigan.) The union pension funds that invest in those corporations should -- at the very least -- know if they're donating money to anti-worker candidates, stink tanks or ALEC, the escort service for corporations and politicians.

Everyone, in fact, should be able to find out where publicly traded corporations are spending their political dollars.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is actually considering a rule that would force corporations to disclose their political spending. The SEC received a record 469,000 comments on the proposal. Only five of those comments were negative. Typically, the SEC gets fewer than 100 comments on its proposed rules.

The SEC has been dragging its feet on doing the public bidding. As they have received comments regarding this rule in the hundreds of thousands in favor of enacting it. Apparently they need millions to contact them before they act.

Yet, despite this broad support from the investing public, experts in securities law, institutional money managers, and numerous public officials, the SEC has yet to write an official rule on which the commission can actually vote.

Federal law already requires political action committees to disclose corporate donations. By putting in place comprehensive disclosure rules, however, the SEC can plug a major loophole in the law, forcing companies to also reveal what they give to tax-exempt “social welfare” groups and trade associations, including chambers of commerce.

These entities have often been used as vehicles for political spending by way of so-called issue ads, ads that purport to be educational, but are often veiled attempts to support a specific candidate or even party.

In other words, the SEC could, in a single stroke, do what Congress and the courts have been unable or unwilling to do: require publicly traded companies to report all of their political spending.

Questions and Complaints

Originally posted to Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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