Nicholas Confessore has an interesting article in the NY Times about the recent push to use SEC regulation to force companies to further disclose their political activities:
…Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican who is chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees the S.E.C., said he had moved to co-sponsor the new legislation after hearing complaints about the proposed disclosure rule from trade groups and businesses in his district.
“The role of the S.E.C. is investor protection, not to engage in a political foray,” he said.
Any rule issued by the S.E.C. would not touch on political contributions by individuals or from privately held companies, which are the chief sources of contributions to “super PACs,” registered political committees that can accept and spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns. But few public corporations contribute to super PACs, in part because political action committees are regulated by the Federal Election Commission and subject to stringent disclosure rules.
The article continues:
Virtually no public corporations have spent their own money directly in political campaigns, a practice now permitted under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. And corporations remain banned from giving money directly to federal candidates.