Study Finds Voluntary Corporate Political Spending Disclosure Lacking

Posted April 15, 2014 at 5:44pm

Corporations that stated they would voluntarily disclose their political contributions have been criticized by an organization that went through I.R.S. reports of the recipients to see if the corporations disclosed all.  

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW),  a non-profit 501c3 organization, compared the political spending disclosed by 60 companies to what Section 527 political organizations reported receiving from those companies.  

The key findings from their new report , “The Myth of Corporate Disclosure Exposed,” stated (1) that 25 of 60 companies had significant discrepancies between what was disclosed and what was reported, (2) 20 companies failed to disclose any of their contributions to Section 527 political organizations, and (3) the discrepancies of 25 companies totaled more than $3.1 million between 2011 and 2013.  

The report stated Microsoft’s disclosure omitted nearly $1 million in donations to Section 527 political entities. Pfizer had approximately $395,000 in discrepancies between company disclosure and what 527 organizations reported. Prudential had $211,000 in differences.  

CREW has filed a rulemaking petition  with the SEC seeking regulations that would require public companies to disclose to shareholders the use of corporate resources for political activities. Companies mentioned in the petition include Aetna Inc., Microsoft, Pfizer Inc., Ford Motor Company, Prudential, FedEx, Boeing, Wells Fargo, and Altria.  

View CREW’s press release .