Require Disclosure of Political Contributions


Dark money is increasingly pervasive in our political system following the Citizens United Supreme Court Case. Companies that abuse this decision funnel millions upon millions of dollars into political campaigns and lobbying efforts and often are not even required to disclose these actions. This corrupts our political system and creates an environment in which legislators are more highly incentivized to pander solely to large donors and special interests rather than to the actual citizens they were elected to represent. Further, as this dark money issue becomes more and more mainstream and the public understands the gravity of the issue, individual consumers will likely shy away from supporting companies that corrupt our political system through these dark money contributions. Therefore, continuing to ignore dark money being funneled into our political system not only supports blatantly corruptive efforts by largescale corporations, but will likely return negative consequences in the near future.

As CREDO Action put it, "Giant corporations – from big oil and big pharma to defense contractors and more – can get away with spending nearly unlimited amounts without voters, customers, or shareholders ever knowing.

These companies use their deep pockets to rig the system, blocking efforts to fight climate change, lower drug prices, and build a more progressive nation...

Vanguard is one of the “big three” mutual funds, and the largest manager of defined contribution retirement plans like 401(k)’s. Huge numbers of Americans have savings with Vanguard – possibly including you, or someone you know. The massive amount of money invested by such firms powers stock exchanges and keeps big corporations afloat, and those corporations are using their profits to hijack our democracy.

As a major shareholder in the biggest corporations, Vanguard has tremendous influence over corporate policy. But so far, it has only helped corporations hide their political spending. In the past few years, shareholders have proposed dozens of shareholder resolutions against big money. If passed, these resolutions would require companies to disclose the money they spend to tilt the scales of our democracy. In almost every case, Vanguard has either abstained or voted against these proposals, refusing to use its proxy votes to stand up to big money.

Today, there is new momentum that could force Vanguard to change its policies. More than 75 percent of Americans favor political disclosure. A growing number of Vanguard’s competitors have announced that they will used their market power to support efforts to fight secret corporate spending. Shareholders are rightly pointing out that they deserve to know if companies are spending big money to influence our politicians, because doing so could cause damage to their reputation and hurt their bottom line."

Thus, it is imperative for Vanguard to require full disclosure of political contributions by companies it is invested in.