Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Gensler: SEC should consider corporate political spending disclosures

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Why it matters: Democrats, including Menendez and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have pressed the SEC for years to impose more political spending transparency on public companies. The SEC has held off from implementing mandatory disclosure rules, including under President Barack Obama, but Gensler indicated a willingness to more directly address the issue. Menendez is proposing legislation that would require companies to disclose details of their political expenditures.

Disclosure leads the agenda: Corporate disclosure was a dominant theme and key tension at Gensler’s confirmation hearing. In response to a different set of questions from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Gensler said that companies “should not be able to hide” their climate risks from investors.

The SEC is widely expected to enact mandatory climate-risk disclosure rules. SEC acting Chair Allison Herren Lee last week directed agency staff to begin work on revising decade-old guidance on climate change disclosures by companies.

Gensler is facing resistance from Republicans, who argue that the disclosures will be used to advance social policies.

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