Lawsuit Calls on D.C. Circuit Court to Order SEC to Act on Corporate Disclosure Rulemaking Request


Contact: Daniel Stevens,, 202.780.5750

Washington D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability, on behalf of activist investor Stephen Silberstein, petitioned the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to order the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to act on Mr. Silberstein’s pending request for an SEC rule that would require corporations to disclose their political contributions and other corporate political spending.

Read the petition here.

“With billions of dollars flowing into the presidential election, shareholders deserve to know how the companies they own are spending corporate funds,” CfA Executive Director Anne Weismann said. “Despite overwhelming public support, the SEC has refused to shed a light on how much money corporations have contributed to ‘dark money’ groups and other political organizations.”

CfA’s petition asks the Court to “compel the SEC to take all steps necessary to propose a corporate disclosure rule…requiring corporations to disclose to shareholders and the public alike their use of corporate funds for political activities.”

The petition, filed on behalf of Stephen Silberstein, is the latest action in CfA’s long-running campaign to force the SEC to require the disclosure of corporate political spending. As part of its 2013 regulatory agenda, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance claimed it would consider whether the Commission should issue a rule regarding disclosure, but the rule never materialized. In 2014, Mr. Silberstein submitted a petition to the SEC requesting the agency require public companies to disclose their political activities, which the SEC ignored.

Last May, also on behalf of Mr. Silverstein, CfA filed a lawsuit against the SEC for failing to enact a regulation requiring corporate disclosure. The lawsuit alleged the SEC violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to act on Mr. Silverstein’s petition. On January 4, 2016, a D.C. District Court Judge dismissed the case, concluding only the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over this issue.

Ms. Weismann continued, “More than one million Americans have told the SEC they support a rule requiring corporate disclosure. The circuit court should order the SEC to do its job, since the agency refuses to act on its own.”

The petition can be found here and is embedded below.

UPDATE: April 11, 2016

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order directing the SEC to file a response to CfA’s petition within 30 days.  The order also grants CfA the right to file a reply 14 days thereafter.

The Court order can be found here.

Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.