This morning, the House Financial Services Committee approved the Shareholder Protection Act. The Act would require corporations to receive permission from a majority of shareholders before setting aside a budget for campaign expenditures, and would require all large election-related expenditures to be disclosed to shareholders and the public.
Since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, corporations have been allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, but have not been required to disclose those expenditures to their shareholders.
Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:
"In approving the Shareholder Protection Act, the House Financial Services Committee has taken an important step towards making corporations accountable to their shareholders and our government accountable to its voters. The Citizens United decision handed corporations the power to use unlimited amounts of money from their treasuries to influence elections — without so much as checking with individual shareholders before spending their money, or telling them that they have done so.
"The only way to truly undo the damage of Citizens United is to pass a Constitutional Amendment reversing it. But until then, voters at least deserve to know which corporations are attempting to influence elections and shareholders deserve to know which elections their money is influencing. Yesterday, the Senate GOP united against the DISCLOSE Act, another measure to ensure transparency in corporate political activity. This time, I hope that the GOP will choose to listen to voters, rather than kowtowing to corporate interests."
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