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NJ Lawmaker Wants Full Disclosure Law for Publicly Traded Companies [AUDIO]

Publicly traded companies are allowed to spend limitless corporate funds on elections by contributing to political action committees (PACs), “super PACs,” and tax-exempt organizations that invest in political campaigns. If you’re a shareholder in a company that is doing this, you might not even know it’s happening because they don’t have to disclose that information to you.

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Flickr User Keith Ramsey

“They should have one website that is updated quarterly where shareholders or any member of the public can go to see where it is they’re donating their political contributions,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. “It’s very possible that shareholders’ views are not consistent with the leadership of the corporation and where those monies are going.”

This Monday, Ciattarelli plans to introduce a resolution urging Congress to pass a full disclosure law. He has also fired off a letter to New Jersey’s congressional delegation asking them to lead the charge.

“This is a shareholder protection bill,” explained Ciattarelli. “This is their capital. This is their company and they have a right to know where these contributions are being made. These are very weighty decisions. They’re also very discretionary decisions and they’re also decisions that really have nothing to do with the product or service that the corporation offers to its customers on a daily basis.”

Some companies voluntarily disclose investment in elections to their shareholders, but most don’t and that leaves gaps in transparency and accountability. While the issue could possibly be addressed on a state-by-state basis by state legislatures, Ciattarelli feels it can be better addressed with federal “law-of-the-land” legislation.

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