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Pa. treasurer asks companies to get out of the political ad game

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

In January, the United States Supreme Court ruled corporations have the right to spend as much as they want on political advertisements.

Pennsylvania’s treasurer, Rob McCord, has joined a new group aimed at trying to convince companies to refrain from that right, and curb their campaign spending.

The new group, called the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending, hopes to rein in the amount of money companies spend on political ads. Officials will try to persuade and pressure companies to stay away from campaign spending, or at least make their investments more transparent.

Democratic Treasurer Rob McCord says he’ll start by simply meeting with executives. But he says over time, he may try to assert more pressure on companies, including possibly divesting state money.

“If we think that in general a corporation is there pursuing a corporate mission, and it suddenly is spending large amounts of money and taking headline risk to engage in a political cause, that certainly could present some levels of financial risk,” he says.

The coalition is based on the New York City Public Advocate’s successful attempt to discourage several investment firms from spending money on political ads.

Officials from Illinois, North Carolina and California are also involved.

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