Three of the nation’s leading trade associations have a message for their member corporations: Resist activists who demand you disclose more details about your politicking than the law requires.
“The strategy of pressuring companies to voluntarily disclose the details of their spending on public policy engagement for the purpose of reducing that engagement is, in fact, their ultimate goal,” wrote U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue, Business Roundtable President John Engler and National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons in a letter dated Oct. 13 and obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
They added: “As these activists continue efforts to silence the business community’s voice, we will continue to engage on your behalf.”
The trade association leaders reserved particular criticism for the Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which in early October published an annual index ranking large companies on their political disclosure practices and policies.
Companies earn points on more than two-dozen measures, such as revealing money spent to influence state-level ballot initiatives and voluntarily disclosing contributions to politically active trade associations and other nonprofit groups.