Yesterday, Broc Romanek noted the continuing interest in mandating disclosure of political spending by corporations. See Battle Lines Being Drawn: Political Spending Disclosures. We are also seeing activity here in California.
Last week, Senator Noreen Evans introduced SB 121 to require any corporation that has shareholders located in California and that makes a contribution or expenditure (as defined):
- to issue a report on the political expenditures of the corporation in the previous fiscal year, and
- to notify shareholders not less than 24 hours prior to each political contribution during the fiscal year, by specified means, including posting the report and notification on the corporation’s Internet Web site, if any.
This bill is very similar to a bill, SB 982, introduced last year by Senator Evans. See Bill Seeks To Mandate Corporate Political Disclosures. That bill was referred to the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee but the hearing was cancelled at the author's request.
In the other house, Assemblymember Mike Gatto has even more ambitious plans. He has introduced AJR 1 which requests Congress to call a constitutional convention pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution "for the sole purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would limit corporate personhood for purposes of campaign finance and political speech and would further declare that money does not constitute speech and may be democratically limited . . . ."
As discussed in this November 2011 post, the California Public Employees' Retirement System amended its principles of corporate governance to recommend that corporate boards "disclose on an annual basis the amounts and recipients of monetary and non-monetary contributions made by the company during the prior fiscal year".