Democrats to SEC: Don't give up on disclosure rule

Democrats to SEC: Don't give up on disclosure rule
© Greg Nash

Democrats are pressing The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revive a rule that would require corporations to disclose their political spending.

The government spending bill that Congress passed last week included a policy rider that blocks the SEC from issuing the controversial rule in the next fiscal year, but Democrats say there's nothing to stop the Wall Street regulator from developing the regulation in the meantime.

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“Specifically, this provision does not bar the SEC from discussing, planning, investigating, or developing plans or possible proposals for a rule or regulation relating to the disclosure of political contributions,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to SEC chairwoman Mary Jo White.

The letter was signed by dozens of Democrats, including Sens. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Red-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (N.Y.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser Senate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference Sanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments MORE (Mass.).

The campaign finance fight goes back five years when the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, so long as it not coordinated with candidates or parties.

Since then, campaign finance reformers have argued that companies should be required to disclose their political spending.

“The ability of corporate executives to spend company resources for political purposes without shareholders’ knowledge raises significant investor protection and corporate governance concerns,” the Democrats wrote. “Without transparency or disclosure, executives are free to spend funds invested by shareholders without accountability or monitoring.”