Democrats have been attempting to silence conservatives for decades and have really pushed harder since Obama was elected.
New York state is quickly becoming ground zero in the fight over free speech and corporate political spending as a top state official with ties to left-wing campaign finance reform groups attempts to pressure private companies into making their political contributions public.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is the state’s top accountant and is spearheading the campaign, cites the importance of transparency.
Observers warn that “shareholder activism” in pursuit of political disclosure represents the first stage of coordinated intimidation campaigns against private companies conducted in the hope of discouraging them from donating to right-of-center nonprofit groups.
DiNapoli’s push is focused on major companies in which the state’s retirement fund is invested. DiNapoli, the fund’s sole trustee, wants those companies to disclose all of their political expenditures.
DiNapoli has already succeeded in convincing KeyCorp, a major commercial bank based in Cleveland, Ohio, to make its political activities public. The company agreed in December to disclose political spending if DiNapoli would withdraw a shareholder resolution designed to force those disclosures.
Three other companies agreed early last year to disclose political spending in the face of shareholder resolutions filed by the comptroller’s office.
DiNapoli boasts that he has filed 26 additional shareholder resolutions for 2013 demanding that companies in which the New York State Common Retirement Fund is invested make their political expenditures public. A spokesperson declined to say which other companies have been targeted.
DiNapoli’s office is also suing QualComm Inc., one of the nation’s largest mobile technology companies, alleging that it has refused to comply with the state’s efforts to force disclosure of its political spending.