Tester Leads Letter Pressing SEC to Require Corporations to Disclose Lobbying Expenditures

Senator has led the charge to dismantle corrosive corporate influence on our democracy

As part of his longstanding efforts to remove the corrosive influence of corporations and dark money on our democracy, U.S. Senator Jon Tester sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pressing the agency to take immediate action to require corporations to disclose their lobbying expenditures.

Writing alongside a group of his Senate colleagues, Tester told SEC Chair Gary Gensler that it is past time for the agency to force corporations to reveal their lobbying activity to their investors:

“In the absence of strong lobbying disclosure rules, investors are largely kept in the dark regarding the policy campaigns they are indirectly funding. This raises concerns that investors may be funding lobbying activities that are counter to the stated missions of the companies they have invested in, that are counter to their own beliefs, or that may even erode the value of their investment… A company’s lobbying activity is of material importance to its investors, and it is past time for the SEC to require strong disclosure rules to ensure investors have access to that information.”

Tester argued that the SEC already has existing authority to force corporations to disclose lobbying expenditures:

“In order to uphold its commitment to ‘protect the more than 66 million American households that have turned to the securities markets to invest in their futures,’ the Commission must act to require registered companies to disclose important information about their lobbying activities. Under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the SEC has the authority to require registered companies to publicly file financial statements, management salaries, and other important information ‘as necessary or appropriate for the proper protection of investors and to insure fair dealing in the security.’ Accordingly, we urge the Commission to issue a rule updating Regulation S-K to require registered companies to disclose, as relevant, any lobbying strategy, the aggregate amount of direct or indirect contributions to registered state and federal lobbyists, and any material risks related to or arising from the registrant’s lobbying strategy and expenditures.”

Tester has led the charge to get rid of the corrosive influence of corporate lobbying and dark money on American democracy.

The first two bills that Tester introduced this Congress were aimed at getting dark money out of politics and overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. He also supported legislation to ban stock trading in Congress to further boost the accountability of Members of Congress, and in July, Tester reintroduced his Close the Revolving Door Actwhich would implement a lifetime ban on Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists.

Senator Tester’s full letter to SEC Chair Gensler can be read HERE.


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