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90 Second Summaries

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A while back, a couple of us here at Sum of Change got involved in meetings with a great group of folks about working together to provide insider reporting of Capitol Hill with an outsider perspective. In time, we became Main Street Insider. Today, Main Street Insider released a new show, 90 Second Summaries.

The purpose of 90 Second Summaries is simple, provide citizens on Main Street with a quick synopsis of what a bill is all about. The first three episodes come out today, tomorrow and Thursday, with new ones every following Monday. Each video comes with a one-page summary (which you can view online or download as a pdf) containing everything you will need to learn even more about any piece of legislation.

Without further ado, presenting Season 1, Episode 1: H.R. 4790, Shareholder Protection Act

The following is cross-posted from Main Street Insider:

H.R. 4790: Shareholder Protection Act

Introduced 3/09/2010

Sponsor: Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA8)

Click here to download this summary (pdf)

Cosponsors: 49 (49 Democrats, 0 Republicans). Full list at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/…

Status: Reported out of the Financial Services Committee on July 29th, 2010. Not currently scheduled for action on the floor.

Purpose: The Shareholder Protection Act of 2010, House of Representatives 4790, was proposed in response to the U.S. Supreme court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in order to influence elections. The purpose of this act is to make corporate, political donations more transparent and give shareholders the opportunity to play a role in choosing how or if those dollars are spent.

Summary: H.R. 4790 amends the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. There are three basic components of this bill:

1) Disclosure of corporate, political spending (from previous year and expected for the forthcoming year).

2) Shareholder authorization of political spending.

3) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is authorized to issue disclosure rules and enforce compliance.

H.R. 4790 directs the Comptroller General to review and report annually to Congress.

CBO Score: none provided

Supporters: Public Campaign, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, Brennan Center for Justice

• Proponents believe this would create a balanced check on the power of corporate interests in elections.

Opposition: Chamber of Commerce, possibly some labor unions

• Some groups, both liberal and conservative, have stated opposition to the strict disclosure filings. The Chamber of Commerce has called the bill “an assault on first amendment rights.”

Further links

Full bill text: http://www.govtrack.us/congres…

Official CRS summary: http://www.govtrack.us/congres…

Citzens United v. Federal Election Commission: http://www.scotuswiki.com/inde…

Representatives Alan Grayson and Donna Edwards on organizing shareholders: http://www.sumofchange.com/vid…

Chamber of Commerce letter opposing H.R. 4790: http://library.uschamber.com/i…

Center for America Progress on addressing corporate political spending: http://www.americanprogress.or…