Analysis of Recent Claims by Anti-Corporate Speech Activists

This afternoon Public Citizen will hold a press briefing on the recent push by pro-regulation activists to force the Securities and Exchange Commission into regulating corporate political speech disclosure.  Here is an analysis of some of their recent claims:
  • Sens. Menendez and Warren are misleading the public when they cite over 600,000 submitted comment letters addressing disclosure issues for public companies at the SEC.
  • Our analysis found less than .01% of these submissions to be “substantive” letters containing unique text and coherent arguments from independent perspectives that were not duplicates, without complete names, or using form text.
  • 99.71% of the comment letters stem from nine different form letters from union and Soros-funded entities, which have posted SEC submission links on their websites.
  • These groups including AFSCME, Public Citizen, Common Cause, CREW, CREDO, and NYC Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio’s Coalition for Accountability in Spending do not have an economic interest in the well-being of U.S. public companies. Rather, they are driving an astro-turf campaign to deceptively suggest investors care about disclosure issues, when in reality over 80% of shareholders reject these ideas year after year.
  • Their ultimate goal is to tilt the public policy playing field to the favor of unions and other labor groups who will not be required to play by the same rules as the SEC.  They will use disclosure to name and shame companies out of the public policy playing field. This is not about material issues to investors concerned about retirement savings and economic growth, this is an ideological partisan movement of activists bent on pushing policies through whichever body they can deceive.  Failing in Congress, the courts, and through the proxy process, they are now looking to the SEC.
For more information, please check out this Wall Street Journal article by Yale Law corporate finance and securities professor Jonathan Macey, as well as former FEC Chairman Bradley A. Smith and CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson’s recently published entry in the Harvard Business Law Review’s Symposium on Corporate Political Spending, titled The Non-Expert Agency: Using the SEC to Regulate Partisan Politics.


  1. […] The Center for Competitive Politics today published an analysis of the SEC comments, available here.  For additional information, please check out this Wall Street Journal article by Yale Law […]

  2. […] noted by the Center for Competitive Politics, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in Alexandria, Va., […]

  3. […] 600,000 comments on this issue. Of the more than 600,000 comments received by the SEC, however, more than 99.7% were mere form letters, ginned up by unions, liberal advocacy organizations such as … There is no way to know what percentage of these 600,000 plus commentators are actually […]

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.