Tell the SEC: We need transparency!

Written by Jack Mumby

Transparency advocates were dealt a devastating blow earlier this week, as the DISCLOSE Act was stopped in its tracks by a GOP-led filibuster and a cloture vote along party lines. The DISCLOSE Act would have closed the “independent expenditure” loophole that Citizens United opened, forcing superPACs, corporations, and unions to disclose the identities of any donors giving more than $10,000.

Adding insult to injury, many of the GOP senators who voted against cloture had previously spoken out in favor of reform- even Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had spoken of the need for greater disclosure. Unfortunately, when it came time to back up their words with action, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, John McCain, and the rest of the GOP Senate caucus chose to side with wealthy donors over their constituents.

Even though the DISCLOSE Act may be stalled for now, that doesn’t mean reformers are giving up. Today on the Hill, investors, senators, and small business owners are rallying in support of the next step in the fight for transparency.

Last August, 10 law professors submitted a petition to the Securities and Exchange Commission, asking them to establish disclosure guidelines for corporate political spending. The petition, #4-637, has received unprecedented public support, with over 300,000 comments submitted to the SEC calling for greater transparency.

Unless something changes, American democracy is in dire trouble. Thanks to Citizens United, corporate CEOs can dip into the company treasury to buy out politicians without anyone’s knowledge or consent, even their shareholders. SEC Comissioner Luis Aguilar has already expressed support for transparency, but he needs our support to take on the special interests that want to keep buying our elections in secret.

If you want to lend your voice to help fix this broken system, send an e-mail comment the SEC  at rule-comments@sec.gov. Be sure to include the petition number (#4-637) in the subject line of your e-mail!

Here’s a sample comment, or write your own:


I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

Thank you for considering my comment.


Jack Mumby is a 2012 graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Policy and campaigned for wage justice and other progressive causes. He is currently working as an intern with Common Cause’s national office.

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21 Responses to “Tell the SEC: We need transparency!”

  1. I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

    In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

    I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

    Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

    Thank you for considering my comment.

    • Common Cause Interns July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Just a heads up, the SEC won’t see your comment if you just post it to this blog. Send this in an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov with “Comment on Petition #4-637″ in the subject line to make sure it gets seen. Thanks so much for helping out!

  2. I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

    In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

    I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

    Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

    Thank you for considering my comment.

    • Common Cause Interns July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Just a heads up, the SEC won’t see your comment if you just post it to this blog. Send this in an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov with “Comment on Petition #4-637″ in the subject line to make sure it gets seen. Thanks so much for helping out!

  3. I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

    In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

    I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

    Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

    Thank you for considering my comment.

    • Common Cause Interns July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Just a heads up, the SEC won’t see your comment if you just post it to this blog. Send this in an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov with “Comment on Petition #4-637″ in the subject line to make sure it gets seen. Thanks so much for helping out!

  4. Sherry Golightly July 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Corporate influence in our electoral processes is destroying our democracy. I am amazed and disturbed by the Citizens United verdict. I am appalled that the actions of Clarence Thomas have not been investigated. To the American people, this smacks of collusion at the highest levels.

    Please, take steps to restore the faith of the American people in both our leadership and our system of government. Please, issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending and lobbying activities.

    This is a vital step that is fundamentally necessary to the continued stability of our nation.

    • Common Cause Interns July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Hey, just so you know, the SEC won’t see your comment if you just post it to this blog. Send this in an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov with “Comment on Petition #4-637″ in the subject line to make sure it gets seen. Thanks so much for helping out!

  5. Sherry Golightly July 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Corporate influence in our electoral processes is destroying our democracy. I am amazed and disturbed by the Citizens United verdict. I am appalled that the actions of Clarence Thomas have not been investigated. To the American people, this smacks of collusion at the highest levels.

    Please, take steps to restore the faith of the American people in both our leadership and our system of government. Please, issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending and lobbying activities.

    This is a vital step that is fundamentally necessary to the continued stability of our nation.

    • Common Cause Interns July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Hey, just so you know, the SEC won’t see your comment if you just post it to this blog. Send this in an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov with “Comment on Petition #4-637″ in the subject line to make sure it gets seen. Thanks so much for helping out!

  6. Sherry Golightly July 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Corporate influence in our electoral processes is destroying our democracy. I am amazed and disturbed by the Citizens United verdict. I am appalled that the actions of Clarence Thomas have not been investigated. To the American people, this smacks of collusion at the highest levels.

    Please, take steps to restore the faith of the American people in both our leadership and our system of government. Please, issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending and lobbying activities.

    This is a vital step that is fundamentally necessary to the continued stability of our nation.

    • Common Cause Interns July 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Hey, just so you know, the SEC won’t see your comment if you just post it to this blog. Send this in an e-mail to rule-comments@sec.gov with “Comment on Petition #4-637″ in the subject line to make sure it gets seen. Thanks so much for helping out!

  7. I cannot, in good conscience, cast a vote until I am sufficiently informed as to who I am voting for and what that persons drives and incentives are. I need to have a reasonable idea of what they’ll support and to whom they are beholden. I may cast my vote in private but you should not be able to fund campaigns in private, because when I vote I vote not only for the candidate, but it’s network and it’s supporters. We need transparency TODAY.

  8. I cannot, in good conscience, cast a vote until I am sufficiently informed as to who I am voting for and what that persons drives and incentives are. I need to have a reasonable idea of what they’ll support and to whom they are beholden. I may cast my vote in private but you should not be able to fund campaigns in private, because when I vote I vote not only for the candidate, but it’s network and it’s supporters. We need transparency TODAY.

  9. I cannot, in good conscience, cast a vote until I am sufficiently informed as to who I am voting for and what that persons drives and incentives are. I need to have a reasonable idea of what they’ll support and to whom they are beholden. I may cast my vote in private but you should not be able to fund campaigns in private, because when I vote I vote not only for the candidate, but it’s network and it’s supporters. We need transparency TODAY.

  10. Citizens United was just one of the steps in the usurping of our democracy as our nation becomes a plutocracy.

  11. Citizens United was just one of the steps in the usurping of our democracy as our nation becomes a plutocracy.

  12. Citizens United was just one of the steps in the usurping of our democracy as our nation becomes a plutocracy.

  13. I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

    In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

    I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

    Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

    Thank you for considering my comment.

  14. I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

    In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

    I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

    Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

    Thank you for considering my comment.

  15. I am deeply concerned about the influence of corporate money on our electoral process.

    In particular, I am appalled that, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, publicly traded corporations can spend investor’s money on political activity in secret.

    I am writing to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to publicly disclose all their political spending.

    Both shareholders and the public must be fully informed as to how much the corporation spends on politics and which candidates are being promoted or attacked. Disclosures should be posted promptly on the SEC’s web site.

    Thank you for considering my comment.