Corporate donation disclosure programs faulted

Watchdog group says numbers don’t add up

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A campaign finance watchdog group contends in a new report that major corporations are failing to keep their promises to voluntarily disclose political spending.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) report released Tuesday found that voluntary corporate political spending disclosure does not work. Even when companies appear to disclose their political spending, the information is often “confusing, inaccurate or misleading,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.

“We need clear, mandatory disclosure standards so shareholders and customers can learn exactly which politicians and politically active groups are funded with their money, she said.

CREW cross-checked the corporate filings against the reports filed by party organizations such as the Democratic Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association, Republican State Leadership Committee, and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and found in many cases the figures did not match up.

Companies named in the report included Microsoft, Pfizer, AT&T, Boeing, Capital One and Prudential.

The report said confusing disclosure policies and reports were to blame for the filing discrepancies.

“Some policies are written in ways likely to mislead or confuse investors who are not intimately familiar with campaign finance,” according to the report. “Others allow companies to keep some contributions secret while promoting an appearance of transparency.”

These findings have prompted the watchdog group to file a rulemaking petition with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. CREW is calling for mandatory, standardized corporate political disclosure requirements that will be easier for investors to navigate.

 

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About the Author
Kellan Howell

Kellan Howell

Kellan Howell, an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covers campaign finance and government accountability. Originally from Williamsburg, Va., Kellan graduated from James Madison University where she received bachelor’s degrees in media arts and design and international affairs with a concentration in western European politics.

During her time at JMU, she interned for British technology and business news website “ITPro” ...

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