SEC’s Schapiro Plans Tuesday Meeting on Corporate Political Spending

Advocacy group to demand SEC take immediate action to curb secret donations

SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro. (Photo: AP) SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro. (Photo: AP)

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Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Schapiro has agreed to meet Tuesday with a bipartisan group of organizations to further hear their demands that the SEC take immediate action to confront what they say is the rise of secret corporate spending in U.S. elections.

The Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS), which is leading the group, held a March 26 rally in front of the SEC’s Washington headquarters. CAPS leaders met with both Schapiro and Meredith Cross, director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. Bill de Blasio, the CAPS president, and Kate Coyne-McCoy, the group's executive director, urged Schapiro and Cross to take up action on the SEC’s rulemaking petition on disclosure that was proposed seven months ago, but both of the SEC officials refused to offer a timeline for action on the new rule.

CAPS' vow to keep up the pressure on the SEC prompted the Tuesday meeting.

“The SEC can actually do something about the fact that money is hijacking our political process. It can force publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending—but has so far refused to use that power,” said de Blasio in a statement. “We can’t wait months and years for action. We’ll keep coming back to the SEC’s doorstep and ratcheting up pressure until the SEC does its job.”

Coyne-McCoy added in the same statement that “It’s been seven months since the SEC was petitioned for a rule change to require disclosure of corporate political spending, yet no action has been taken.” Shareholders, she said, “are deeply invested in this issue—it’s time for the SEC to stop ignoring those voices.”

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