You know, it's kind of wrong for companies to make political and charitable contributions. Don't get me wrong -- it's not because I don't believe in giving to those in need. I do, and have supported and have even run our annual Foolanthropy campaign.

My problem is that when companies give money away, they are giving away shareholder money -- our money -- and the allocation decisions are rarely made by us. In 2008, for example, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) gave $226 million to non-profits. Boeing (NYSE:BA) gave nearly $58 million, and 16% of that, more than $9 million, to organizations promoting arts and culture. That's nice, but you might believe in giving solely to disaster relief and poverty alleviation -- but if you're a shareholder, you have little say.

I also question the role of corporations in our democracy when our nation was founded for and by the people, not the corporations.

Here come the Supremes
The situation may soon be even worse. The Supreme Court is considering lifting restrictions against companies donating directly to federal election campaigns. Imagine financial institutions spending heavily to help someone get elected who will work to loosen regulations on credit card companies. Sure, that may be good for shareholders in card-issuing institutions like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF). Moreover, it could boost card-network volume, helping MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Visa (NYSE:V), and Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS). But it wouldn't necessarily be good for the rest of us who carry plastic in our pockets.

Sure, you and I can just contribute to the candidates we like, and we can compete with corporations. But JPMorgan Chase is a $168 billion company. That can be hard to compete with. The New York Times recently ran an editorial expressing concern about this and suggesting that the Supreme Court "is rushing to decide a monumental question at breakneck speed and seems willing to throw established precedents and judicial modesty out the window."

Imagine the subsidies, tax breaks, and other goodies that companies might be able to get -- by spending your money.

We consumers (and investors) might want to keep a close eye on unfolding developments in this arena.

Meanwhile, for investing insights and ideas:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article. Discover Financial Services is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Try any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.