“The glorification of the corporation over the past thirty years has been predicated in large part on the myth that corporations are solely dedicated to maximizing shareholder value. But corporations only maximize shareholder value if shareholders have a way to keep executives and employees in line and prevent them from simply lining their own pockets. Decades of research have shown numerous failings in the standard corporate governance model: boards that are stuffed with cronies of the CEO, directors who have no ability to evaluate what their companies are actually doing, massive golden parachutes that insulate CEOs against failure, and so on. Poor oversight of political activity may be another to add to the list.
There is much work still to be done on corporate political activity and its implications for shareholders. But the early evidence is that we cannot simply assume, as the Supreme Court did in Citizens United, that shareholder pressure will magically ensure that a company’s political spending is always in its best interests. In this context, the need for improved disclosure is even more urgent.” - James Kwak
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[Photo: Mike Luckovich]