Home Letter: Virginia senators watch out for investors

Letter: Virginia senators watch out for investors


letter-to-the-editor3As a lifelong Virginian, I want to thank you for running the story “Warner, Kaine push SEC to require companies to disclose political spending to shareholders,” about our senators’ support for corporate political disclosure. Now it is time for the SEC to consider a rule which will benefit all investors.

Most Virginians have money invested in corporations, either directly through stocks that they have purchased, or indirectly through their company’s 401(k) plan. Shareholders are the true owners of corporations, and expect to have a say in their governance. Yet when companies spend shareholders’ money on political campaigns, they are not required to inform them or the general public. Without disclosure being mandated, only 2.2% of public companies voluntarily choose to do so.

In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 75% of Americans agreed that outside groups that spend money in campaigns should be required to disclose their contributors. The clear majority of the country, regardless of political affiliation, knows that secretive money has a corrosive influence on our elections.

This week’s letter shows that Virginia’s senators understand this problem. The requested disclosure rule would provide investors with necessary information about how their money is being spent. It would also keep voters well-informed about who is funding candidates for office. Though Sens. Kaine and Warner were joined by 42 of their colleagues, Warner’s support is particularly crucial given his position as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment..

Of course, corporate disclosure is just a first step in reforming our campaign finance system. But it is one that will give investors the knowledge that they deserve.

– Letter from Elise Orlick/Alexandria



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