Poll shows bipartisan voter support for corporate giving rule

Poll shows bipartisan voter support for corporate giving rule
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The majority of Republicans and Democrats agree that financial regulators should force publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending, a new poll of primary voters found.

A new Public Policy Polling survey found that 88 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Republicans either "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree" that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should issue a rule that mandates reporting. 

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Senate Democrats, state officials and financial reform advocates have long been pushing for the agency to reign in corporate political spending. 

The debate stems from the Supreme Court’s Citizen's United decision that allowed corporations to spend freely on politics from their general treasuries. The case spurred the creation of super-PACs and increased the amount of spending flowing through tax-exempt organizations that aren’t required to disclose donors.

Without political spending information, business investors argue that they are left in the dark about whether their money is going to advocate for issues they oppose. Businesses, however, say this type of rulemaking should left to the Federal Election Commission.

Given the findings of the poll, Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, said SEC Chair Mary Jo White should move forward with a rulemaking.

“With ever growing support, the question has become what excuse does Chair White have not to proceed rather than why doesn’t she act,” she said. “We hope she heeds the groundswell of public and investor demand and holds roundtables to begin thinking seriously about how best to move this rule.”