Shareholders Asking Companies to Reveal Political Outlays

With nine months remaining before the U.S. presidential elections, some investors have expressed themselves politically via an earlier set of votes: Nearly one-third of shareholder resolutions filed for the upcoming annual-meeting season ask companies to reveal more about their campaign spending and lobbying, according to a report released on February 28.

If they don’t persuade companies to meet their requests, those shareholders still have a prominent regulator on their side. Last Friday SEC commissioner Luis Aguilar said the Securities and Exchange Commission should require companies to disclose their political outlays. “It is the commission’s responsibility to . . . ensure that investors are not left in the dark when their money is used without their knowledge or consent,” he said during an event held by the Practising Law Institute.

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