Letter: Why is shareholder act stalled
Now that we are past the primaries, we will begin to see the results of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United.
Citizens United is the case that gave corporations the ability to dip into their profits and spend unlimited money to promote or attack politicians or issues. The only proviso is they can't give directly to the politician.
Realizing the probability of huge amounts of money in the future elections, members of Congress started creating laws to curb the flood. One such was the Disclose Act which would require the CEO of the corporation to announce at the end of the ad that he was John Doe of Company and that he had approved the ad. Harmless? It's like the politicians now. It was so frightening that the Republicans filibustered it.
Some CEOs are so bashful that at the prospect of appearing on TV (or perhaps it was fear of a boycott from disapproving customers) caused anonymous organizations like Minnesota Forward to appear. While there has been a lot of publicity to Target's contribution to Minnesota Forward, other corporations including Hubbard Broadcasting, Best Buy, Holiday Gas and others have added to the coffers of Minnesota Forward.
In some cases the corporations are even-handed such as GE (parent company of NBC) which gave equally to the Republican Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association. Others such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, parent of Fox (fair and balanced) News threw away the scales when they donated a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association without a penny to the Democratic Governors Association.
It's not objectionable if the CEO wants to dig into his own pocket to donate to a campaign (although his pockets are bigger than the average pocket), but personally I object to spending money that will be used to support people whose policies I oppose.
I would really hate it if, as a shareholder in a company, I learned that my dividend was smaller because the CEO diverted the profits to support his favorite candidate. Perhaps that's the reason the Shareholders Protection Act has been stalled in Congress.
Barbara M. Edwards