by Cydney Posner
According to Politico (subscription required), a “provision to prohibit the SEC from requiring companies to disclose their political campaign contributions is one of the last sticking points in the omnibus spending package, two sources said.” One of bill’s negotiators said there were a few sticking points remaining, one of which is the political disclosure provision sponsored by Republicans. Senate Democrats have pressured SEC Chair Mary Jo White to propose rules requiring political spending disclosure (see this PubCo post as have several former SEC Commissioners (see this PubCo post). On the other hand, in this year’s financial services spending bill, the House Republicans sought to preclude the SEC from adopting any rules requiring disclosure of corporate political spending. (See this PubCo post.)
It’s ironic that the issue should be a sticking point, given that Chair White has taken a firm “hands off” position on this issue. According to Bloomberg, in the past, “White has signaled that she is unlikely to pursue the rule. In a speech in October 2013, she lauded the SEC for resisting past calls to mandate reporting of political contributions, emphasizing that the independent agency should stay away from politics. One month later, she pulled consideration of the rule off of the agency’s regulatory agenda.” Of course, not adopting political spending disclosure rules just might be construed as a political decision also.