The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Public Citizen Applauds Elizabeth Warren for Calling on Obama to Replace SEC Chair Mary Jo White

 SEC Has Been Slow to Act on Profoundly Popular Corporate Political Disclosure Rule


Public Citizen joins with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in calling on President Barack Obama to replace Chair Mary Jo White at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Warren's letter (PDF) to the White House was sent late Thursday night.

"Chair White has failed to protect investors and failed to protect the public," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. "After the 2008 financial collapse - enabled in part by SEC deregulatory failures - the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform legislation envisioned a reinvigorated SEC. Instead, the agency under Chair White has been lax in moving mandated rules, too weak on enforcement and, stunningly, has moved to reduce mandated disclosures to investors."

"In keeping with her overall anti-disclosure posture, Chair White has failed to advance a proposed and desperately needed rule that would require publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending to shareholders," said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "This proposed rule has record-breaking public and investor support, but Chair White has blocked it from moving ahead."

Public Citizen, leading members of Congress, the Corporate Reform Coalition, numerous public interest groups, former SEC commissioners and chairs from both political parties, major institutional investors, pension funds and others have supported this rule. Investors should not be left in the dark as to whether executives are spending funds on political causes that may run counter to shareholder interests, Public Citizen maintains.

Despite the inclusion of a policy rider in the 2016 omnibus spending package blocking finalization and implementation of the SEC's disclosure rule, legal experts have concluded that there is no language in the rider that would prohibit the agency from working on the rule. Public Citizen is leading the fight to have the rider removed from fiscal year 2017 appropriations legislation and has urged the SEC to continue working on the disclosure rule.

"We applaud Senator Warren for her bold leadership and hope President Obama follows her counsel," added Gilbert.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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