We have the best shot we've ever had to undo the damage of Citizen's United. How do we know? Because ALEC, the Chamber of Commerce, and major oil companies are freaking out and issuing wild, apocalyptic predictions to try and stop us.
But this isn't in the hands of the Congressmen big business has in its pocket, it's in the hands of the brand new Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman, Mary Jo White. With one simple rule change -- backed by legal scholars, 80 members of Congress, and 500,000 Americans and counting -- she can require corporations to disclose their political spending.
The SEC is evaluating the rule right now, and momentum is on our side. But the major power-brokers are starting to catch on, and lash out. If we pile on with tens of thousands of extra comments, we can keep the energy on our side, and show Mary Jo White that Americans want disclosure of corporate political spending.
Send your comment to the SEC telling it to force corporations to report political spending.
So corporations want to be treated like people? Well, people have to disclose their campaign donations. Corporations shouldn't get special privileges. A record six billion dollars was spent on political races in 2012. However, we may never know the full extent of corporate spending in the past election, since much of it is funneled into dark money groups, deliberately organized to hide their funders.
This new strategy for reform cuts out the middleman. Instead of trying to get politicians – the same people who need corporate donations to get elected -- to change the rules, we’re going directly to the rule makers. The wildest part is that it could actually work. According to one attorney who worked with her, "If ever a chairman of the SEC were to undertake the cultural sea change required to mandate enhanced corporate campaign disclosure through the commission, I would expect it to be Mary Jo White”. The SEC has been considering the petition -- submitted by ten legal scholars -- for months, but has yet to write it into a formal rule. Once the rule is written, White would only need the support of two of the current four commissioners -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- to pass it.
One of the major reasons corporations put so much money into politics is because they can get away with it. Since there is zero investor oversight, oftentimes corporate political spending is based on the CEO’s decision alone, and often has more to do with the boss’s ideology than the well-being of the business. If corporate spending was announced to the world, spending would be answerable to investors, customers, and the public at large. This would be a sea change in spending. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for.
Submit your comment to the SEC now.