WHAT: Press conference in which supporters of a petition calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to promulgate a political spending disclosure rule will announce that a record-breaking one million comments have been filed in support of the petition. The petition urges the agency to require all publicly traded companies to disclose political spending information to their shareholders.
The rule was placed on the agency’s agenda by departing SEC Chair Mary Shapiro in 2013 but was removed by Chair Mary Jo White earlier this year. The rulemaking petition has garnered historic support from investors and the general public. Its removal sparked outrage among its advocates, who contend that White is not taking into account the changing needs of investors since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That ruling gave corporations and the wealthy the green light to spend unlimited sums to influence elections and led to a flood of “dark money” groups that don’t disclose their donors. In addition, White is ignoring the material nature of political spending information (with its inherent risks) to shareholders.
Advocates of the rule will announce an unprecedented level of support for the campaign and make their case for the rule on the SEC’s doorstep.
WHEN: 11 a.m.–12 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 4
WHERE: In front of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE, Washington, D.C.
WHO: Moderators: Lisa Gilbert, Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, and Liz Kennedy, Demos Counsel
Professor Robert Jackson, Columbia Law School, one of the initial petition filers
Alan Butkovitz, Philadelphia city controller
Laura Berry, executive director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Amanda Ballantyne, national director, Main Street Alliance
Tim Smith, director of ESG Shareholder Engagement, Walden Asset Management