The Baruch Index of Corporate Political Disclosure

Who We Are

The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity's (RZCCI) interest in corporate political activity began in 2009, with the Caperton v. Massey case. Don Blankenship, then CEO of Massey Energy, supported the election of a judge to the Supreme Court of West Virginia. That judge subsequently ruled in favor of Massey Energy in a $50 million lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case for re-trial, acknowledging the appearance of conflict of interest on the part of the elected judge. As these events unfolded, RZZCI held a panel discussion entitled ‘American Justice for Sale? Corporate Dollars in Judicial Election Campaigns’, where the topic of corporate activity in judicial elections was debated. The Supreme Court’s 2010 verdict in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission broadened our focus to include legislative and executive elections.

Our interest, as business professors at a leading business school, is in corporate integrity and corporate reputation. We acknowledge corporations have a need to include political activity as part of their overall business strategy. And we support such activity, when it is conducted with integrity. The question in our minds is, how do we achieve business strategy with integrity? We think one part of that answer involves disclosure. To that end, and to serve the mission of RZCCI, we began our research into corporate political disclosure.