An official with the Securities and Exchange Commission is admonishing top money management firms BlackRock, Fidelity and Vanguard for not pressing companies they hold stakes in to disclose information about their political campaign contributions, according to Bloomberg.
Democratic SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson says these money managers have consistently voted to oppose shareholder resolutions that would force the companies they invest in to reveal how much they contribute to special interest groups. These three fund management giants typically are the biggest owners in many of the largest public U.S. companies.
Jackson came to these findings after looking at 15 years of data on shareholder resolutions. He sent his findings to Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat and wrote that the three fund management giants are currently opting to "keep corporate political spending in the dark" and noted that "for the largest institutions,
there is virtually no variance by company or over time."
For its part, Vanguard told Bloomberg in a statement that political spending has not yet "warranted intensive proxy voting and engagement efforts," especially when compared to other issues such as regulatory, climate and cyber risk. Vanguard said it monitors "matters of political spending disclosure on a case-by-case basis, and as with any type of risk, this is an area that we will continue to watch closely." Representatives for BlackRock and Fidelity declined to offer comment to Bloomberg.
Democratic lawmakers would ideally like to use legislation to force the SEC to act. But this outcome is very dependent on Democrats winning the Presidency and the Senate next year, while keeping control of the House of Representatives.
Presidential campaigns for the 2020 election are just around the corner. Senator Elizabeth Warren has just released her Medicare for All plan, which Evercore analysts say is a positive for healthcare stocks.