2016 – Proposing the Securities and Exchange Commission Require Corporate Political Expense Disclosure
Submitted by the New York Society for Ethical Culture and Passed at the 101st AEU Assembly
Whereas, the shareholders of SEC-governed corporations have a right and the ethical responsibility to know the operations and method of management of those corporations, and
Whereas, corporations try to achieve influence in governmental regulation and spending through political contributions; including those to political parties, lobbying, and other contributory funding; and these non-direct business expenses are a cost that could be otherwise distributed to the shareholders and should be reported to shareholders so they may responsibly vote their shares;
Therefore, be it resolved that the American Ethical Union support the proposal of Federal legislation to be enacted as follows, and members of Ethical Culture Societies advocate in concert with other local organizations or individually for:
The Securities and Exchange Commission to require each SEC-listed corporation to include such political expenses in their annual reports; listing the recipients of the ten largest amounts of funds, as well as the corporate efforts expended for political activities and expenses, in a prominent place within the first ten pages of primary presentation of financial results. This would be in print of the same font and size as used in the report for the overview of revenue and profits, etc.; and all other such political expenses would be included later in the report in readable-size print. Such information is to be presented in descending sequence of dollar amounts or values received by each recipient person or organization over the year – supported with footnotes as to how the amounts were determined – and for amounts of $10,000 or more, to include the name of the corporate officer who authorized the spending decision. Included in this listing would be:
- The amount of money or value of goods or services (i.e. use of facilities or equipment such as airplanes, etc.) contributed to individual political candidates and parties.
- The amount of money contributed to Political Action Committees (PACs), along with a listing of the principle directors and the primary goal of each PAC.
- The amount of funds (and other assets, including use of facilities, etc.) spent on lobbyists or other such recipients, with their names, and the goal of such corporate-spending efforts.
- The amount contributed to a charitable fund under the direction or influence of a political figure or his or her family members.