On Requiring Public Companies to Disclose Political Spending

71 Pages Posted: 18 May 2014 Last revised: 9 Feb 2015

Date Written: May 16, 2014

Abstract

Mandatory disclosure is a central feature of securities regulation in the United States, yet there is little agreement regarding precisely how the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) should determine what public companies are required to disclose. The current debate about whether the SEC should require the disclosure of political spending by public companies is but one example of this lack of consensus.

In this Article I first answer the more general question of how to evaluate any proposed public company mandatory disclosure requirement. I then apply this new evaluation method to the specific question of whether public companies should be required to disclose political spending. This analysis shows, based, in part, on previously unpublished empirical findings, that the evidence does not support requiring public companies to disclose political spending.

Keywords: Securities Regulation, Disclosure, Political Spending, Public Companies

JEL Classification: K22

Suggested Citation

Guttentag, Michael D., On Requiring Public Companies to Disclose Political Spending (May 16, 2014). Columbia Business Law Review No. 3, 593 (2014); Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2014-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438078

Michael D. Guttentag (Contact Author)

Loyola Marymount University ( email )

7900 Loyola Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
United States

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