The Corporate Reform Coalition is pleased that the SEC has indicated that its staff is looking at whether to proceed with a rule that mandates disclosing corporate political spending. The group says that by including this possible rulemaking in its semi-yearly regulatory agenda, the Commission has made a critical move to protect investors, tackle the influx of secret corporate spending that has occurred since the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and help in the disclosure of key political spending information.
The CRC is comprised of over 80 pension funds, socially conscious investors, and consumer associations that seek greater accountability and transparency in corporate political spending. According to CRC co-chair Lisa Gilbert, that the regulatory agency has indicated that it intends to put out a notice of proposed rulemaking by April is “one step further” toward its commitment to a rule. However, some disclosure attorneys are reportedly skeptical that the SEC will actually take on this rulemaking.
Following the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission in 2010, shareholders have been wanting more transparency related to how companies spend their lobbying money. In 2011, the Committee on Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending turned in a rulemaking petition to the SEC seeking regulations that would mandate disclosures. 322,000 comment letters have since followed—most from investors supporting mandated disclosure.
Last year, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, which would be tasked with writing new disclosure rules, said that in the wake of so much investor interest, staff was thinking about whether to suggest that the Commission go ahead with a rulemaking. The SEC then included this possibility in its semi-annual agenda regulatory in December.
Group Applauds SEC for Movement On Corporate Political Spending Issue, Bloomberg/BNA, January 9, 2013
Related Web Resources:
Corporate Reform Coalition
Disclosure Regarding the Use of Corporate Resources for Political Activities, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
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