Should Public Companies Disclose their Political Spending?

A growing number of public companies are voluntarily disclosing their corporate donations to trade associations and other nonprofits, and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez wants to require all of them to reveal their political spending. Such New Jersey companies as Becton, Dickinson & Co. of Frankin Lakes and Prudential Financial of Newark were among the most transparent, according to a report issued Thursday by the Center for Political Accountability and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School’s Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research. On the other side, the Parsippany-based animal health company Zoetis and the retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond, based in Union, were among the worst in terms of disclosure, according to the report. “You have a responsibility to your investors to tell them what you do and what you don’t do,” center president Bruce Freed said. “You see the improvements from year to year. That is very important.”

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