Foster wants more transparency on corporate political spending

‘The political contributions of publicly-held companies should not be a secret’

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster reintroduced legislation last week aimed at increasing transparency on corporate political spending by public companies for their investors and the public.

Foster’s Shareholder Political Transparency Act would amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require public companies to make quarterly spending disclosures to their shareholders, according to a news release.

The disclosures would be meant to provide shareholders with descriptions of the kinds and amounts of political spending that the companies engage in.

“Investors deserve transparency when it comes to the political spending of the companies they invest their hard-earned money in,” Foster, D-Naperville, said in the release. “The political contributions of publicly-held companies should not be a secret. This bill is a commonsense step to providing investors with the facts necessary to make informed decisions about where to invest.”

Beth Rotman, the director of money in politics and ethics at the non-partisan watchdog Common Cause, lauded Foster for pushing the legislation. She argued the shareholders of public companies deserve to know how their money is being spent.

“When multi-national and domestic corporations spend secret money in politics, our communities and our children often suffer as a result of the flawed policies that these corporations are pushing,” Rotman said in the release.

Several Democratic members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, including Rep. Jan Schadowsky of Illinois.