In July 2011, we co-chaired a committee of ten corporate and securities law experts that petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to develop rules requiring public companies to disclose their political spending. In a post eleven months ago, we noted that the petition had attracted more than 250,000 comment letters. In this post, we report that, as reflected in the SEC’s webpage for comments filed on our petition, the SEC has now received more than half a million comment letters regarding the petition. To our knowledge, the petition has attracted more comments than any other SEC rulemaking petition—or, indeed, than any other issue on which the Commission has accepted public comment—in the history of the SEC.
As in the past, it remains the case that the overwhelming majority of comment letters filed with the SEC are supportive of the petition. In November 2012, the then-Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance said that the Division was “looking at the [petition] and we have 300,000 comments on it. So in light of this interest, we’re taking a look at whether to make a recommendation to the Commission.” The comment letters submitted over the last several months reinforce the strength of interest noted by the Director.
We should note that, of the filed comments, 497,024 came from individuals who expressed their views through one of fourteen common types of letters filed with the Commission. While these comments use standard form letters, each was separately submitted by individuals who presumably were interested enough in this subject to write to the SEC. Furthermore, the petition has separately attracted 3,363 distinct comment letters, and the overwhelming majority of these letters is also supportive of the petition.