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More companies disclose political spending — or don’t make such contributions

For more than a decade, the Center for Political Accountability, a consortium of companies and like-minded organizations, has been championing businesses’ voluntary disclosure of political spending. Now the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is under pressure by Senate Democrats to require disclosure of such spending.

And an increasing number of shareholders apparently support such disclosure.

In a new report, CPA has noted that its shareholder resolution for corporate political disclosure and accountability “secured record high support in the 2015 proxy season.”

New York Times business columnist¬† Eduardo Porter recently paid special attention to CPA’s mission and achievements relying heavily on data from the CPA-Zicklin Index:

“Business executives seem to have realized that secret political contributions carry real risks to corporations and their shareholders … [Since CPA] started banging the drum in 2003, it has reached disclosure agreements with 141 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index.

“Forcing executives to justify political activities on the corporate dime, and allowing shareholders to object, could limit spending altogether… the disclosure effort has the wind at its back…

“In an evaluation of the top 300 companies in the S&P 500, the group found that more than six out of 10 either disclose political spending made directly to candidates, parties and committees, or do not make such contributions.”

Yesterday, some 40 Democratic senators signed a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White to require that public companies disclose their spending on political campaigns.