Why do some companies refuse to make political donations; others make such contributions and disclose them; and still others — most likely the greatest number — make the contributions anonymously??
The answer: Transparency — or lack of it.
On this issue, “transparency” seems to be as open to as much interpretation as “truth.”
In the wake of arguably the most “dark money” ever spent on a U.S. national election — and very likely a “dress rehearsal” for the 2016 presidential election — some shareholder groups are addressing the issue. For example: Oxfam: “The lack of transparency in corporate [political] donations continues the perception that the political game is rigged against ordinary people in favor of organized business interests.”
To be fair, undisclosed corporate political contributions are but a fraction of the vast and growing pot of anonymous political contributions. In the run-up to this month’s election,The Center for Responsive Politics estimated that about $250 million was earmarked by a wide variety of groups set up for anonymous political contributions.
The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, responsible for guarding investors’ right to know how corporate executives spend shareholder money, has chosen not to pursue this aspect of its responsibilities.
Under these circumstances, we’d better hold on for a wild spending ride in U.S. 2016 political spending.