On Monday, the State Senate Corporations Committee will vote on legislation that would force businesses to disclose political donations. Senator Daniel Squadron sponsored the Corporate Political Accountability to Shareholders Act to address the effects Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision of January 2010 that allowed businesses to make undisclosed and campaign contributions through super PACs.
“As we all look on in horror at the effect of Citizen’s United on the political process, here in New York, we have a chance to do something about it. This bill would reign in unchecked corporate influence in a way that the Supreme Court still allows,” Mr. Squadron told The Politicker. “It would require shareholders of corporations to approve political spending, it would require disclosre of political spending and it would require corporations to justify the corporate puprose of that spending. Too often people are using corporations to grind their own political axe. It’s not good for shareholders and it’s not good for the political system.”
The Corporate Political Accountability to Shareholders Act would require “that corporate contributions to a political candidate or party committee or in support or opposition to a candidate or ballot referendum be approved by a majority of shareholders.” Mr. Squadron believes his legislation could be a model for other states to address the growing controversy over corporate influence on the political process.
“Corporations exist under state law. The Supreme Court is clear that the state and disclosure were the way to react to Citizen’s United,” Mr. Squadron said.
If the Corporate Political Accountability to Shareholders Act passes the committee vote on Monday, it will be put before the Senate for a vote. Mr. Squadron said he’s hopeful it will pass and move on to the Assembly.
“I hope it passes, I think it will certainly be a great opportunity to see if folks are willing to stand up against corp influence in politics,” he said.