Court Battles

SEC ordered to respond to petition for political spending rule

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The nation’s second most powerful court on Monday ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to explain why it has not responded to a request for a political spending rule.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered the SEC to respond within the 30 days to a petition the Campaign for Accountability (CfA) filed on behalf of Stephen Silberstein and explain why the agency has not responded to his request for a rule requiring corporations to disclosure their political spending.  

{mosads}CfA, which has long pushed the SEC to issue a corporate political spending rule, petitioned the court in February to force action on Silberstein’s request.   

“With billions of dollars flowing into the presidential election, shareholders deserve to know how the companies they own are spending corporate funds,” CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann said in a statement in February. “Despite overwhelming public support, the SEC has refused to shed a light on how much money corporations have contributed to ‘dark money’ groups and other political organizations.”

Republicans added language in the 2016 government funding bill barring the SEC from forcing publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending. But Senate Democrats have said the rider does not stop the commission from working on a rule that can be introduced in short order when the funding law expires.   

SEC now has a chance to tell their side of the story. The D.C. Circuit order Monday also gives CfA the right to file a reply 14 days after SEC’s response.

– This story was updated at 6:13 p.m.

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