Dems push SEC to issue political spending rule

Congressional Democrats renewed their push this week to get financial regulators to issue a rule requiring all publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending.

Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) led a coalition of 58 lawmakers in writing a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Jo White calling again for a formal rule.

“As you know, the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, opened the floodgates on unlimited and unchecked corporate spending on political communication and campaign advertisements,” the lawmakers’ letter said. “This paradigm poses a fundamental threat to our democracy, which is hobbled by unaccountable corporate special interests drowning out the voices of everyday citizens.”

Senate Democrats on the Banking Committee also sent a letter to the SEC this week in support of a disclosure rule.  

Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, an advocate for the rule, said the SEC has received more than 1.2 million public comments in favor of political spending disclosures. Advocates include leading academics in the field of securities law, investment managers and advisers, 70 major endowed foundations, Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, and a number of state treasurers.

“In the pursuit of good corporate governance and a new commissioner who puts Main Street first, we heartily agree with the case made by the banking committee senators,” Lisa Gilbert, the group’s director said in a news release. “Support for a rule requiring disclosure of corporate political spending should serve as a metric for a qualified nominee, and the outcry for this rule by investors must no longer be ignored."