Bloomberg BNA’s Corporate Law & Accountability Report is available on the Corporate Law Resource Center. This news service keeps corporate practitioners informed of legal developments of...
By Yin Wilczek
June 12 — Twenty-one organizations June 12 asked President Barack Obama to ensure that nominees to the Securities and Exchange Commission support rulemaking to require corporate political spending disclosures.
In a letter to the White House, the organizations—including Public Citizen, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Greenpeace—observed that investors, former SEC chairs and commissioners, state treasurers, members of Congress and others have called for the requirements.
“Any qualified nominee to the agency should be in support of something so robustly requested by investors and in favor of moving this rulemaking forward,” they said. “We encourage the administration to use this regulation as a signpost for the quality of potential candidates.”
The term of SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar, a Democrat, expired earlier this month, though he is expected to stay on until his replacement is named. Daniel Gallagher reportedly is resigning his post as a Republican member of the commission.
In the wake of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, 558 U.S. 310, 2010 BL 15350, diverse groups—including institutional investors, private citizens and investor advocates—have pressed the SEC to require political spending and lobbying disclosures. A 2011 petition by a group of law professors asking for the disclosures has garnered more than 1.2 million comments, the overwhelming majority in support of the rulemaking.
The commission also has been sued over its failure to promulgate rules on the issue.
Most recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) faulted SEC Chairman Mary Jo White for sidestepping Democrats' calls for the disclosures—a project White removed from the commission's regulatory agenda in November 2013.
Attorneys previously told Bloomberg BNA that with the current divided commission, rulemaking on political spending transparency is highly unlikely. However, they added that there may be more visibility on the matter during the 2016 election cycle.
Many of the organizations that wrote to the White House June 12 have been vocal on the need for the SEC to act.
In their letter, the organizations also criticized the SEC's revolving door, charging that Wall Street insiders moving “back and forth between financial firms” and the commission have created an agency whose decision-making is “biased toward the interests of the financial industry” and away from those of the public and investors. “A drastic change in approach is needed as we select new nominees to run this important agency,” they said.
The Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan government watchdog group, called on President Obama June 8 to replace White with someone who will provide “real accountability” and stop the “wide open” revolving door.
To contact the reporter on this story: Yin Wilczek in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at email@example.com
The letter is available at http://op.bna.com/car.nsf/r?Open=ywik-9xell3.
The Citizens United opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Citizens_United_v_Federal_Election_Commission_130_S_Ct_876_175_L_.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)