Record political spending
The tumultuous election campaign now ended brought record spending on candidates and parties: nearing $3 billion at last count. A chunk of that money came from corporations. Political spending by corporate America is a hot-button issue: So much so that two people tapped by President Barack Obama to fill vacancies on the Securities and Exchange Commission have been hung up for more than a year over it.
Investor advocates have urged the SEC, the government’s markets watchdog, to require publicly traded companies to more fully disclose their political spending. The idea is that shareholders, as a company’s owners, should know which political candidates or causes are receiving their money. Business interests say that information isn’t relevant for shareholders.
Several Democratic senators are angered that Obama’s two SEC nominees, a Democrat and a Republican, waffled on the issue at a hearing. The Democrats blocked their nominations. SEC Chair Mary Jo White hasn’t committed. She points to a Republican amendment to a catch-all government spending bill, prohibiting the SEC from adopting such a rule.
The result: The five-member SEC has been down two since December 2015.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics *Includes political action committees and company employees