SEC Drops Plans for Corporate Donation Disclosure Regulations

First Amendment experts happy


The Securities and Exchange Commission has dropped from its rulemaking agenda a contentious proposal to require publicly traded firms to disclose campaign spending to their shareholders.

The decision, heralded by First Amendment defenders, reflects a major setback for a campaign launched in 2011 to counter the influx of corporate political spending in recent election cycles.

"There's no accountability for political spending for the folks that actually own the companies — the shareholders," said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division. "This is sort of a slap in the face to investors that have been demanding this.

The SEC announced it was considering imposing the regulations late last year, when it included the measure on its 2013 regulatory agenda. The action came in response to a petition submitted by a group of law professors contending that shareholders have a right to know how companies involve themselves in politics.