Since the Citizens United ruling, an increasing number of companies have decided to strengthen disclosure of political spending, voluntarily limit their spending and increase board oversight. However, many other companies have not embraced these reforms. Less than one third of S&P 500 firms guarantee that their board has oversight for their company’s political spending. Even then, 90% of that board action is a post-hoc review of what management has done.
On January 9, 2012, CAPS sent letters to 20 corporations rated poorly by independent watchdog organizations for their corporate political spending practices and urged those companies to develop or amend those policies. The response from these 20 corporations? Deafening silence. Further research indicates that many of the corporations have government contracts to provide goods and services to local, federal and state government. They are being paid with our tax dollars- and are in turn using those dollars to influence elections.
Specifically we asked corporations for:
- Full and timely public disclosure of all corporate political spendingElimination of contributions to intermediaries engaged in political spending including 527’s, Super PACS and other third party organizations
- Barring annual dues and other money paid to trade associations from being used for electioneering purposesCreate a process of board oversight prior to spending, not after the fact.
- In the coming weeks CAPS will continue to reach out to these companies to begin a dialogue about corporate transparency in political spending.
Click the company names at the top of this page to see profiles of the 20 poorest rated corporations in America in terms of transparent political spending. We hope that you will call them, and urge them to respond to CAPS inquiries about corporate political spending.
If you want more information, or want to become more deeply involved in our reform efforts send an email to Kate@politicalspending.org