Are shareholders demanding more corporate disclosure? Proxy results continue to say “No.”

As campaign finance activists and Democratic Party shills continue to urge the SEC to involve itself in campaign finance – in this case by requiring corporations to disclose publicly their trade association dues, contributions to 501(c) organizations, and all other expenditures that might at some point end up supporting the corporation’s political interests, one argument we hear a lot is that “corporate shareholders have been demanding this information.” Unfortunately for the disclosuremaniacs, the corporate shareholders keep refuting this argument with their actual votes.

Here are the latest percentage of “yes” votes from the Manhattan Institute’ Proxy Monitor:

  • IBM, 24.5% 
  • General Dynamics, 16.6%
  • EMC Corp., 5.0%
  • Valero Energy, 37.0%
  • Chubb Corp., 3.5%

These defeats drop the corporate disclosure movement to 0-19 this proxy season, with an average “yes” vote of just 18.3% when shareholders actually vote on the issue. Of course, if shareholders really do want this info, they have right to vote in the requirement. But the idea that the SEC should make such a rule mandatory in the interest of shareholders is contrary to what shareholders themselves think, and corporate managers should hesitate before succumbing to the blackmail tactics of groups demanding corporations voluntarily surrender neuter themselves politically.




The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.