Obama pushed to fill SEC vacancies with corporate-giving rules in mind

A group of financial reform advocates sent a letter to President Obama on Friday asking him to fill upcoming vacancies at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with candidates who support disclosure rules for corporate giving.

“One obvious issue that can and should serve as a litmus test for the selection of the nominees is the wildly popular rulemaking petition calling for the agency to promulgate a rule requiring disclosure of corporate political spending information,” said the letter signed by 21 groups including Public Citizen, Voices for Progress and Common Cause.

The letter represents the latest push from financial reform groups that have been urging the SEC to move forward with a rule that mandates reporting. Without it, advocates say shareholders are left in the dark, unable to make informed investment decisions or determine whether their money is going to groups that advocate for issues they oppose.

Business groups, however, decry the proposal as an attack on the First Amendment.

“Too regularly in recent history, nominees to serve on the SEC have been ‘revolving door’ Wall Street insiders with a pattern of moving back and forth between financial firms and the agency charged with overseeing those firms,” the letter to the president said. “This back and forth leads to decisions that are biased toward the interests of the financial industry and away from the interests of the public and investors.”