Statement of Emma Boorboor, Election Reform Campaign Director
Today, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs postponed votes on a block of banking nominees based on concerns about the two U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nominees and their stance on political spending disclosure.
During a March 15 confirmation hearing, Hester Peirceand Lisa Fairfax, both SEC nominees, fielded sharp questions on corporate political spending. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), began his questions by saying, “a giant hole was ripped in our democracy by Citizens United. It has had a corrosive effect on our country. The SEC has a role to play.” U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) focused their statements at the hearing on the need for a rule requiring publicly held corporations to disclose political spending. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) raised the issue as well, with Warren highlighting the obvious conflict between the nominees’ stated support of the SEC’s mandate – investor protection – and whether either of them would eventually choose to ignore the 1.2 million investors that have supported and requested a political spending disclosure rule.
Elections Reform Campaign Director Emma Boorboor releases the following statement:
“SEC nominees, Hester Pierce and Lisa Fairfax, should not ignore the loud message they got today from members of the Senate Banking Committee. Support of corporate political spending disclosure will be a key litmus test in their appointment.
“U.S. PIRG commends U.S. Sens. Schumer, Menendez, Merkley, and Warren who all opposed the nominees, citing that the 1.2 million Americans who weighed in on this rule and the flood of secret corporate money in politics can no longer be ignored.
“The SEC must act to give shareholders the information they need about how corporations are spending their money in elections. Making this an issue throughout the confirmation process is a key first step.”
U.S. PIRG, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.