Shareholders' Quest for More Transparency

If you own a share of a company, how much information about the company are you entitled to? That is the question embedded in the debate over a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule that would force publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending to their shareholders.As of this month, a 2011 petition to the SEC proposing the rule has received more than 1 million comments — most of them in favor of the mandate. Supporters of the rule, some of whom demonstrated outside the SEC last week, say that's the highest number of public comments ever submitted in response to a petition for a SEC rule. That level of public engagement, the proponents say, means the agency must stop delaying and implement the proposal. They also say that as hundreds of millions of dollars flood into politics through anonymous "dark money" sources, the rule is more needed than ever.If adopted, the proposal, written by law professors, would codify and standardize disclosures shareholders have long been requesting from various companies. Those requests have been among the most common proposals at annual shareholder meetings. At the same time, major institutional investors such as the New York state and city pension funds have used their shares to press companies to disclose their political expenditures.Read More.Source: Creators.Com/David Sirota