This bill would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue regulations to require public corporations to disclose political expenditures. Under current law such disclosures to shareholders are voluntary, although corporations must abide by Federal Elections Commission reporting rules.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on Financial ServicesIntroducedFebruary 7th, 2019
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 1053?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 1053
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to help shareholders know where companies they're investing in are spending their money:
“Shareholders deserve to know exactly where their money is going when they choose to invest in a company. For years, Congressional Republicans have blocked the SEC from shining a light on the political contributions that shareholder funds are supporting. That must change. The voices of Central Coast residents and small businesses shouldn’t be drowned out by billions of dollars in secret political advertising backed by corporations that place making a profit above the public interest.”
Last Congress, Rep. Carbajal introduced this bill to require publicly-traded corporations to disclose their political expenditures to shareholders:
“The Citizens United decision unfortunately opened the door for large corporations, even foreign-controlled ones, to spend unlimited amounts of money on influencing American elections… Unfortunately, Congress has recently prevented the SEC from requiring political disclosures for corporations and that must change. The public has a right to know how powerful, multinational corporations are spending money to influence our political process.”
"It is no accident that the years since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision brought Republican waves, state legislative takeovers and Donald Trump. The Supreme Court empowered corporations to pour cash into elections, with disastrous results. Citizens United boosted Republican vote share by 3 to 4 points in states where a ban on corporate spending was previously in effect, according to one study. Corporations use their deep pockets to rig the system, blocking efforts to respond to climate change, lower drug prices and combat inequality. [This] bill would fight back by forcing corporations to disclose their political spending... Ever since Citizens United, secret corporate money has been flooding our elections, hijacking our democracy, and undermining our nation. Giant corporations – including big oil, big pharma and defense contractors – can get away with spending nearly unlimited amounts without voters, customers, or shareholders ever knowing. We need to fight back – and the first step is demanding that corporations come clean about their political spending."
Of Note: In recent spending bills, Congress has included language to prevent the SEC from implementing new reporting requirements regarding the disclosure of political contributions. This bill would overturn this restriction.
Currently, in the absence of legislation or SEC rule making on this issue, there's been a new stockholder trend compelling corporations to be more transparent about their political spending. According to the 2018 CPA-Zicklin Index, this has led to 294 out of the S&P 500's companies implementing some form of disclosure of their spending on political campaigns and lobbying activities.
- Sponsoring Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) Press Release
- Sponsoring Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) Press Release (115th Congress)
- CREDO Action Petition (In Favor)
- 2018 CPA-Zicklin Index
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: Juanmonino / iStock)