Wall Street Journal

Using ‘Disclosure’ to Silence Corporate America

by Jonathan Macey
October 21, 2013

By Jonathan Macey

Many American businesses are mulling the latest results of the annual “CPA-Zicklin Index,” which purports to use empirical methods to measure the accountability and transparency of spending by publicly held companies. The index is a joint project of the George Soros-backed Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

A word to company officers and shareholders: Ignore the index. It is another salvo by activists in the continuing political war against corporate America.

The index’s headline claim is that increased disclosure is “a competitive advantage.” Yet nearly 82% of shareholder votes among Fortune 250 companies refused to support activist shareholder proposals seeking increased disclosure of expenditures on what the activists dub “political spending,” which includes payments to tax-exempt, issue-advocacy groups, including trade associations.