WASHINGTON Sen. Elizabeth Warren is urging big banks to voluntarily disclose their contributions to think tanks, arguing that donations could indirectly influence policymaking.
The Massachusetts Democrat sent a letter to the chief executives of the country's six largest institutions on Wednesday, asking them to change their disclosure policies to include giving to think tanks. She warned that policymakers need access to "objective, high-quality research, data and analysis" to prevent the kinds of mistakes that led to the financial crisis, arguing that private think tanks can help provide that information when it is "truly independent."
"If the information provided by think tanks is little more than another form of corporate lobbying, then policymakers and the public should be aware of the difference," she wrote.
As such, Warren called on Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to make their donations public, calling policies to conceal such contributions "wrong."
"Just as there is transparency around your direct efforts to influence policymaking through lobbying, the same transparency should exist for any indirect efforts you make to influence policymaking through financial contributions to think tanks," she said. "I am confident that by increasing public disclosure, your companies can generate goodwill from shareholders, policymakers, and the public that will serve your long-term interests and the long-term interests of the American people."