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New group targets campaign money

Coalition aims to get pledges from corporations on spending, disclosure

WASHINGTON – Several prominent Democratic politicians announced a new coalition Monday aimed at pressuring major companies not to use corporate money on political campaigns.

The Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending, spearheaded by New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, aims to secure promises from major corporations to fully disclose political spending and, ideally, to avoid spending corporate money directly on elections.

The effort marks the latest response to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling early this year in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations, unions and nonprofit groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. The ruling has helped fuel a record year for spending by outside interest groups, mostly in favor of Republicans, records show.

The new coalition springs out of a successful effort by de Blasio, who serves as a trustee for New York City’s largest pension fund, to persuade Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to adopt policies against spending money from their general treasuries in elections. The firms can still run their political action committees, which are operated independently, officials said.

De Blasio said the national effort is necessary because Congress could not agree to new disclosure requirements for corporations.

Other Democrats joining de Blasio in the coalition are Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn; Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord; New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell.

De Blasio said the coalition welcomes Republicans and said many GOP officials on the local and state levels are more likely than national Republicans to share the group’s concerns. “I fully expect this to be a bipartisan effort,” he said.


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