Senate Dems Demand SEC Political Disclosure Rule

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By Rob Tricchinelli

Aug. 31 — Forty-four of the 46 senators in the Democratic caucus prodded the Securities and Exchange Commission Aug. 31 to make a rule requiring public companies to disclose their corporate spending on political activities.

Such a rule was requested by the Committee on Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending in an August 2011 petition, which has attracted more than 1 million supportive public comments.

The SEC dropped the item from its rulemaking agenda at the end of 2013 without ever proposing it, and SEC Chairman Mary Jo White said as recently as September 2014 that there were no plans to move forward on the rule.

‘Accountability.'

A political disclosure rule would bring “much needed accountability to shareholders and transparency to corporate political spending,” the senators said in a letter to White. “We believe this is consistent with the SEC's requirement for public companies to disclose meaningful financial information to the public.”

“We add our voices to the many who have expressed frustration and disappointment that the SEC decided to remove this issue from its regulatory agenda entirely,” the letter said.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) were the lone Democrats not to sign the letter.

Congressional Republicans have included language in spending bills to fund the SEC that would prohibit the agency from using any funds to craft a political disclosure rule.

To contact the reporter on this story: rtricchinelli@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phyllis Diamond at pdiamond@bna.com

For the letter, visit http://www.merkley.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/20150831_SECLetter.pdf