Common Cause

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Senators' Telephone Press Conference on Citizens United Anniversary

Sens. Merkley, Menendez, Warren and Others to Urge SEC to Require Disclosure of Political Ad Spending

WASHINGTON - WHAT:  Telephone press conference in which several U.S. senators will call on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to shed light on dark money and help address the growing crisis of out-of-control political spending. 

Despite a rider tucked into the omnibus spending bill at the end of December, the SEC can work on a rule requiring publicly held companies to disclose details of their political spending. The rider said only that the agency can’t finalize a rule, which means that the agency can draft a rule and seek comments on it. 

The senators’ call coincides with the sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. That ruling gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited sums to influence elections. It also led to enormous sums of money being funneled anonymously through trade associations and so-called social welfare groups to be spent on elections.               

The SEC has received more than 1.2 million public comments in favor of a rule requiring disclosure of political spending, including from leading academics in securities law, investment managers and advisers, a bipartisan group of former SEC commissioners and chairs, 70 major endowed foundations, Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, a number of state treasurers and many others. 

WHEN:  11:45 a.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 21 

WHO:   U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Professor John Coates, Harvard Law, securities legal expert

Moderator: Lisa Gilbert, director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

CALL-IN:               1-800-875-3456, passcode BRAD71543


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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

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