NEWS: Legislation Seeks Corporate Shareholder Approval for Spending to Influence Political Campaigns in Alaska

Rep. Andrew Josephson

Rep. Josephson Introduces Bill in Response to U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision

February 24, 2016

Juneau – Today, Representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) formally introduced legislation requiring corporations in Alaska to get an affirmative vote from a majority of shareholders before spending corporate money on political campaigns or issues.  Rep. Josephson confirms that House Bill 343 is in direct response to the 2010 Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections to support or defeat candidates or issues.

“The Citizens United decision was a travesty that has fundamentally changed the election process in Alaska and across the country by allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations,” said Rep. Josephson.  “It seems reasonable to require the shareholders of a corporation to vote on allowing spending on a campaign as a minor check on the power of corporations to influence our elections.”

Currently, most corporate shareholders are not informed before the corporation spends money on a political or issue campaign.  Rep. Josephson’s bill would mandate that shareholders be informed about the proposed spending and explicitly authorize the spending by a majority vote.  HB 343 stipulates that failure to get shareholder approval before a political expenditure would be a breach of the corporation’s fiduciary duty.  Such a breach could be actionable by a shareholder and may be prosecuted as a civil penalty by the Alaska Attorney General.

HB 343 has been referred to the House State Affairs and Judiciary Committees.

For more information, contact Megan Rowe in Rep. Josephson’s office at (907) 465-4939.



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