Republican on SEC blasts ‘politically charged’ action on corporate giving

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At issue is a petition that was placed on the SEC’s regulatory agenda late last year that asked the agency to force the disclosure of political giving by publicly traded corporations.

The petition, which received more than 300,000 signatures, urged regulators to require a list of political donations on the annual reports that companies provide to shareholders.

Campaign finance reform advocates cheered the SEC’s move, calling it a watershed moment in their quest to reveal the political influence of big business.

“It really can’t be overstated, in terms of what this means for the disclosure movement,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) said.

Gallagher said that the “current composition of the commission” should give “at least temporary comfort” to the groups and companies — including the Chamber — that oppose the disclosure rule as a thinly veiled attempt to drive the business community out of politics.

By law, no more than three members of the SEC can belong to the same political party, in an attempt to preserve the independence of the agency. The current breakdown is two Democratic commissioners and two Republican.

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