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Print Version-Rep. Capuano and Senator Menendez Reintroduce Shareholder Protection Act

PRESS RELEASE

Rep. Capuano and Senator Menendez Reintroduce Shareholder Protection Act

January 21, 2015

Today on the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are reintroducing the Shareholder Protection Act which requires CEOs to seek authorization from a majority of shareholders before a corporation can spend money from its general treasury on political activities. The legislation also requires the disclosure of these expenditures.

“The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has had profoundly negative effects for all parties in our election system, including shareholders. The rights of shareholders must be protected. Instead, they are being compromised by a handful of corporate executives who act as if they personally own the company. A corporation’s money belongs to its shareholders. At a minimum, they should have a say in how that money is being spent,” stated Congressman Capuano, who first filed this bill in 2010.

“Corporate executives should not be able to treat money invested by shareholders as their personal piggy bank for political campaign spending, especially without shareholders’ knowledge or consent,” said Senator Menendez. “As the destructive repercussions of the Citizens United decision continue to give corporations undue influence on elections, this legislation will provide long overdue accountability and transparency. The Shareholder Protection Act will ensure that a company’s executives have the informed consent of shareholders before they can spend shareholders’ money on politics.”

The Citizens United decision allows CEOs to spend unlimited corporate treasury funds on campaigns. One of the effects of this decision is that corporations have been able to conceal their campaign spending by funneling the money through electioneering nonprofit groups. These groups in turn buy campaign ads without disclosing the corporate donors. The Shareholder Protection Act would:

  • Require a majority of shareholders to authorize an overall political budget before general treasury funds can be spent on political activities;
  • Require a Board of Directors vote to authorize each expenditure over $50,000 within the overall budget approved by shareholders;
  • Require the disclosure of corporate political spending to shareholders, the SEC, and the public on a quarterly basis, and board approval of significant expenditures disclosed on-line within 48 hours.

The Shareholder Protection Act is co-sponsored in the House by Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-MA); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Keith Ellison (D-MN); John Larson (D-CT); Raul Grijalva (D-AZ); Gerry Connolly (D-VA); Elijah Cummings (D-MD); Niki Tsongas (D-MA); Susan Davis (D-CA); John Conyers (D-MI), Steve Cohen (D-TN); Mark Takano (D-CA); Chellie Pingree (D-ME); John Sarbanes (D-MD); Peter Welch (D-VT); Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Grace Meng (D-NY).

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Contact: Alison Mills (Rep. Capuano) 617-621-6208



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