This week, the research department here at Public Citizen released a paper that reminded us just how big the footprint of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has.
For those that don’t know, the U.S. Chamber has spent more than $1 billion on lobbying since 1998. And that’s in addition to all the money it has spent on elections – $35+ million in 2012 alone.
The report also reminded us just how secret this money is.
While 24 donors to the U.S. Chamber (23 of whom are Fortune 500 companies) voluntarily disclosed their contributions, the rest are mostly a mystery.
And while it’s great that 23 of the top 500 companies in the world have chosen to disclose, that still leaves us in the dark about many others.
Meaning those that invest in these companies and those who buy their products have very little knowledge of what kind of political stances their dollars are supporting.
All the more reason why the Securities and Exchange Commission should adopt a pending rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose donations made to groups like the U.S. Chamber.
Transparency plays a key role in protecting our democracy and it’s important we fight for it.