The Central Coast’s representative in Congress on Friday filed a federal bill that requires publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal reintroduced the bill after a previous effort failed to pass the Republican-controlled House Committee on Financial Services.
The Corporate Political Disclosure Act of 2019 would require publicly traded corporations to disclose political expenditures to their shareholders and to the general public through the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Carbajal was joined in authoring the legislation by Bill Ostrander, director of campaign finance reform nonprofit advocacy group Citizen’s Congress, and Carbajal’s former Democratic opponent in the 2016 primary election.
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“Shareholders deserve to know exactly where their money is going when they choose to invest in a company,” Carbajal said. “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.”
In a news release Friday, Carbajal’s office said that special interest groups spent nearly $1.5 billion on the 2016 presidential election.
Since then, absent action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, stockholders have begun compelling corporations to become more transparent about their political spending, with 294 out of the Standard & Poor‘s 500 companies having implemented some form of disclosure of their political spending and lobbying activities, according to the 2018 CPA-Zicklin Index.
The Corporate Political Disclosure Act would create a uniform reporting requirement through the SEC, the news release states.