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AGAINST: Wrong tactic and agency

Zachary Parks | December 19, 2017

Six years ago, ten respected academics petitioned the Securities & Exchange Commission to adopt a rule forcing companies to publish detailed reports about their political spending. In the ensuing years, reform groups, labor unions, and others orchestrated a sophisticated campaign that generated over a million form-letter comments pressuring the SEC to act.  These groups argue that a corporate political disclosure rule will enhance transparency and protect shareholders from executives who waste corporate dollars on their own pet political projects. This well-intentioned proposal, however, is the wrong approach by the wrong agency.

The proposed disclosure rule is, in many ways, a solution in search of a problem. Advocates for the rule suspect that the country’s largest public companies secretly inject enormous sums into U.S. elections.  But little empirical evidence supports that assumption. 

According to an analysis by the Institute for Free Speech, a public...

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