Thursday, April 25, 2013
The New York Times reported yesterday that the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") is considering proposing a rule that would require corporations to disclose their political spending. Over the past few months, the SEC has been flooded with calls for such disclosure in response to the large amount of corporate donations to tax-exempt groups that engaged in election-related activities during 2012. Currently, neither the Federal Election Commission nor the IRS requires such groups to disclose their donors, with the result that public corporations tend to contribute to such groups in lieu of super PACs that are subject to disclosure rules.
According to the Times, the proposal's supporters argue that "shareholders should be able to evaluate business executives' oversight of company resources and that SEC regulations already require disclosure of similar information, like executive compensation." In contrast, opponents believe that such a regulation oversteps the SEC's authority and role, which, according to Rep. Scott Garrett, is "investor protection." As the Times reports, the US Chamber of Commerce (which also opposes the proposal) "believes that funds expended by publicly traded companies for political and trade association engagement are immaterial to the company's bottom line."
Views on the proposal follow party lines, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it. In fact, House Republicans have introduced legislation that would prevent the SEC from issuing such a rule. Should the SEC move ahead, it seems a major battle looms.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Every spring, one of the liveliest discussions in my nonprofit law class concerns the tax status of the NCAA and college athletics. (We cover the topic while discussing the UBIT). After this year's discussion, a student sent me this clip of John Stewart taking on the NCAA. Although the clip doesn't really address the NCAA's tax status, it does touch on relevant issues, such as commericialism and the treatment of student athletes. I plan on adding it to my repertoire of in-class videa clips; there's nothing quite like John Stewart to pull students out of their post-lunch slump.
Miranda Perry Fleischer
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A warm welcome to the Social Enterprise Law Blog!
Law professors Cass Brewer (Georgia State), Deborah Burand (Michigan), Haskell Murray (Regent), Alicia Plerhoples (Georgetown), Dana Brakman Reiser (Brooklyn), and a handful of practicing attorneys have joined social enterprise lawyer Kyle Westaway (who is also Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School) at his SocEntLaw blog. The blog covers issues and events related to social entrepreneurship and social enterprise law.
Miranda Perry Fleischer