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Corporate Governance and
Transparency: Covering
Companies from Washington
National Press Foundation
Paul Miller Fellows
September 2012
How To
• Decipher CEO pay packages by looking at
“proxy statements” or “Form 990s”.
• Match PAC contribution data and lobbying
disclosure to corporate agendas.
• Learn from SEC filings what
legislation/regulation companies want/fear.
• Feed the data into coverage; spot and
enterprise
Big Picture
COST OF THE 2012 ELECTION
$5.8 BILLION
(Projected)
Source: OpenSecrets.org
Cycle
Total Cost of To Dems
Election
To Repubs
% to Dems
% to Repubs
2012*
$5.8 Billion
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
2010
$3.6 Billion
$1.8 Billion
$1.77 Billion 50%
49%
2008*
$5.3 Billion
$3 Billion
$2.2 Billion
57%
42%
2006
$2.8 Billion
$1.36 Billion $1.44 Billion 48%
51%
2004*
$4.1 Billion
$2.1 Billion
52%
47%
2002
$2.1 Billion
$977 Million $1.18 Billion 45%
54%
2000
$1.6 Billion
$1.3 Billion
54%
Source: OpenSecrets.org
$1.9 Billion
$1.6 Billion
43%
Where does the money come from?
•
•
•
•
•
Unions
Corporations
Associations
Individuals
Lobbyists
Top Corporate Donors in 2008
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Goldman Sachs - $7 Million
AT&T - $5.9 Million
JPMorgan Chase & Co. - $5.8 Million
Citigroup Inc. - $5.7 Million
General Electric - $4.3 Million
Morgan Stanley - $4.3 Million
Microsoft Corp - $4 Million
Comcast Corp - $3.9 Million
Campaign Finance Law
• Federal Election Campaign Act 1971
• McCain-Feingold
• Federal Election Commission
– http://www.fec.gov/law/feca/feca.shtml
Citizens United v. Federal Election
Commission - 2009
• McCain-Feingold prohibition on independent
expenditures by corporations and unions violated
the First Amendment
• Paved way for “Super PACs,” that make no $s
contributions to candidates, but can do unlimited
independent expenditures
• SpeechNow – US Appeals Court, DC Circuit 2010.
Lifted limits on amount of contributions, allowing
unlimited funds from individuals, corporations
and unions.
Top Super PACs
• “Restore Our Future” (Romney) $82.5 mln
• “Priorities USA Action” (Obama) $24.8 mln
• “American Crossroads” (Rove) $19 mln
• 829 groups organized as Super PACS
– raised $349 million and spent $233 million
Sept. 5
NYT – Emanuel to Raise Money for
Democratic `Super PAC’
– “I find all the special-interest money lined up on
the other side, tilting the scales in a way that I
don’t want to see,” Mr. Emanuel said.
Sept. 6
LA Times – A convention without
corporate sponsors?
By Matea Gold and Melanie Mason
– Democrats vowed to put on a peoples convention
paid for with small donations. But Big-name
money was persistently present in Charlotte
– AT&T, Bank of America, Coca-Cola and United
Health Group among those who gave $11 mln
Sept. 8
AP – Super PAC backing Obama airs
anti-Romney tax ad, says middleincome households would pay more
- Priorities USA Action airs ad in Colorado, Florida,
Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin
- Romney said to have 5-2 advantage over Obama
in some television markets
Sept. 10
WSJ – Obama Tops Romney in August
Fundraising.
• President Barack Obama’s campaign had its
best fundraising month yet in August, raising
more than $114 million. With the DNC.
• Romney and RNC raised $111.6 mln.
Aug. 22
Sunlight Foundation Debuts Ad Hawk App
for iPhone and Android (press release)
– New mobile app to help voters better know who is
buying political ads. Listens to the ad and then lists
information about who placed it.
– http://adhawk.sunlightfoundation.com/
Resources
The Sunlight Foundation
– Sunlight Labs creating new online and mobile
tools
– Influence Explorer www.influenceexplorer.com
– A web bookmarking tool from Sunlight Labs, the
tech arm of Sunlight Foundation.
www.poligraft.com
– Listings of fundraising events.
www.PoliticalPartyTime.org
– www.sunlightfoundation.com
Resources
Federal Election Commission
– Disclosure portal has searchable catalog of official
candidate and political action committee filings.
National parties and independent expenditures.
Downloadable data files.
– www.fec.gov
Resources
Center for Responsive Politics
– Top all time donors
– Search by industry or company name
– Helpful staff. Custom data.
– www.opensecrets.org
Resources
Political MoneyLine
– Searchable database
– Custom research
– Kent Cooper and Tony Raymond.
– www.fecinfo.com
Resources
National Institute on Money in State
Politics.
– Tracks donations in all 50 states
– www.followthemoney.org
Editors Want to Know
• What’s the best story we can tell right now?
• Answer: Analysis and exclusives
– Follow the money (data)
– Paper trail (online)
– Sources (people)
Digging into Companies
•
•
•
•
10-K annual report
10-Q quarterly report
8-K material event report
Proxy statement. CEO pay and board of
directors
Lobbying Disclosures
• House Clerk’s Office
• Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995
• Lobbyists required to report new clients, fees,
and legislation of interest
• http://lobbyingdisclosure.house.gov
April 22
New York Magazine - “Sugar Daddies. The Old,
Rich White Men Who Are Buying This
Election.” By Frank Rich.
– If you want to appreciate what Barack Obama is up against in 2012,
forget about the front man who is his nominal opponent and look
instead at the Republican billionaires buying the ammunition for the
battles ahead. A representative example is Harold Simmons, an 80year-old Texan who dumped some $15 million into the campaign
before primary season had ended.
http://nymag.com/news/frank-rich/conservative-donors-2012-4/
Aug. 15
WSJ - Zynga Puts Real Money Into Gambling
Lobby. By John Letzing
– The lobbying investments by Zynga in Washington,
D.C., and California come as the company eyes
real-money gambling versions of games as a key
opportunity amid waning investor confidence and
a battered stock price.
– online.wsj.com
Corporate Governance and
Transparency: Covering
Companies from Washington
Bill Roberts
202 329 7157
wroberts3@mac.com
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