Professor Robert J. Jackson Jr. to Address Members of Congress, Media on SEC Political Spending Rule

Jackson and Other Legal Experts Petitioned the Agency to Consider the Rule, Which Would Require Publicly Traded Companies to Disclose Political Spending.

New York, October 23, 2013—Columbia Law School Professor Robert J. Jackson Jr. will join lawmakers, investors, and other legal experts in an Oct. 30 Senate briefing on a rule under consideration by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would require publicly traded companies to disclose political spending.

The SEC’s consideration of the rule was prompted by a petition filed with the agency by a group of legal experts, including Jackson. The petition has garnered more supportive comments than any other petition in the agency’s history, and the SEC added the rule to its agenda last year. If promulgated, the rule would bring the reality of disclosure laws in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, in which Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that prompt disclosure would allow shareholders and voters to hold executives accountable for political spending. No mechanism currently exists to compel companies to disclose political spending.
“Although investors have long asked public companies to disclose when shareholder money is spent on politics, most corporate political spending remains hidden from investors,” said Jackson, who co-chaired the group of legal experts that petitioned the SEC to take up the issue. “The SEC should act immediately to adopt rules that would give investors the information they need to evaluate political spending at the companies they own.”
Jackson will be joined in the briefing by others who support the proposed rule, including U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).