Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced the Shareholders United Act, H.R. 936, to control billions of dollars in corporate political spending and put power back in the hands of the shareholders.
The Shareholders United Act would prevent corporate expenditures for campaign purposes unless the corporation has established a process for determining the political will of its majority shareholders.
If a corporation has no such process or is unable to assess the “majority will” of shareholders because the majority of shares are owned by entities that are prohibited from registering a political preference – such as states and cities, pension and mutual funds, universities, charities, or foundations – then the corporation will be prohibited from using its resources on political campaigns.
The majority of shares of Fortune 500 companies are actually owned by institutional investors prevented from engaging in partisan political activity because of federal or local law, their tax status, contract, or fiduciary duty.
“If most company shares are owned by entities forbidden to be involved in politics, the CEO literally has no one to speak for,” Raskin said. “Money should not be taken from shareholders and their owners to make political statements they are prevented by law from making.”