This week, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to respond to a petition I co-authored with my colleagues John Coffee, Ronald Gilson and Jeffrey Gordon asking the Commission to develop rules requiring public companies to disclose whether and how they spend shareholders’ money on politics. The New York officials argue that, upon her confirmation as the new Chairman of the Commission, Mary Jo White should make our petition, and the need for transparency in political spending at public companies, a top priority.
In a new Article coming out next month in the Georgetown Law Journal, Lucian Bebchuk and I put forward the case for SEC rules requiring disclosure of corporate spending on politics. In response, opponents of our petition have offered several objections to such rules. But as I explained in a previous post on the CLS Blue Sky Blog, none of these objections provides any basis for the SEC to hesitate in moving forward on these rules. The case for transparency on corporate political spending is strong, and Ms. White and the Commission should promptly develop rules requiring public companies to disclose their spending on politics to investors.
Mr. DiNapoli’s and Mr. de Blasio’s article, published this week in the New York Times, is available here.