Senate Dems shine light on corporate political spending

Senate Dems shine light on corporate political spending
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Senate Democrats are looking to rein in corporate political spending during the 2016 presidential campaigns.

In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sent on Monday, a group of 44 Senate Democrats demand public companies be required to disclose their political spending to shareholders.

The Supreme Court protects the right of corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on presidential and congressional campaigns, but the senators are looking to bring more transparency to the process. 

Currently, companies spend millions of dollars in so-called “dark money” political advertisements. In fact, only 2.2 percent of public companies reveal their identities, according to the senators.

"Because shareholders are the true owners of a corporation, a public company should be required to disclose to its owners how their money is being spent,” the senators wrote to SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White.

The Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision in 2010 paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations. Critics of the decision are pushing to identify where the money is coming from.

The SEC began work on such a rule in 2013, but later put it on the back burner.

The senators hope the SEC will complete the rule ahead of the 2016 elections.