Record po­lit­i­cal spend­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - BUSINESS -

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.

Marcy Gor­don; J. Paschke • AP

Source: Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics *In­cludes po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tees and com­pany em­ploy­ees

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