The Citizens United reform movement has caught some momentum over the last few days as the protests at the SEC have started to ramp up.

“The SEC can do something about the fact that money is taking over the political process,” said Bill de Blasio, the public advocate for New York City. “They can force publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending. It’s not a lot to ask to simply disclose what they’re doing. The SEC has the power, but the SEC is not using the power.”(1)

The bottleneck in the private money for influence peddling scam is a government organization that was created to regulate such atrocious actions, the Securities and exchange commission, whose infamous notariety has been noted over the last decade as incompetent. The SEC now has a vested interest in seeming to do something positive for the people as they were asleep at the switch during the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme and failed to regulate Wall Street before during and after the 2008 financial crisis that led to the great recession. The lack of action by the SEC has left the country with a laser focus on its accountability, and whether or not it can even do its job. The SEC is now seen as one of the “Keystone Cops” on the financial industry beat due to its cozy relationship with Wall Street and the people want answers. Groups are urging the SEC to force Publicly traded Corporation to disclose their electioneering activities as a protection of all shareholders that own those company shares involved in electioneering activities.

“The message from Americans could hardly be louder or clearer,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “People who own publicly held companies have a right to know how their money is spent on politics. If corporate officers won’t disclose that information willingly, then the SEC has the responsibility to protect shareholder interests by compelling disclosure.” (2)

It must be noted that this action would only deter publicly traded companies from being active in SuperPAC activities, in fear of being on the wrong side of a boycott of their products or services. An SEC intervention would not deter private companies from electioneering due to the legal protections afforded them in the Citizens United V FEC case and subsequent rulings on disclosure following it.

George Zornick at “The Nation” writes, “Some campaign reformers have thus turned their attention to the Securities and Exchange Commission, urging it to pass a rule that all publicly traded companies must disclose political spending to shareholders—this would reveal exactly what business interests are trying to influence the election, and in the eyes of most experts, lead to dramatically reduced corporate electioneering.”(3)

The people are screaming at the top of their lungs for change on this matter. It is only a matter of time before this rolling snowball of a political issue finds its way to Washington as an avalanche on Capitol Hill.

-Cameron Michaels

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