Today, Americans for Tax Reform led a coalition letter to Congress calling for the appropriate committees to organize comprehensive oversight hearings of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s conduct under Chair Gary Gensler.
Groups that signed the letter include: Americans for Tax Reform; FreedomWorks; Center for a Free Economy; American Business Defense Council; Citizens Against Government Waste; Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council; American Consumer Institute; Less Government; American Commitment; 60 Plus Association; Center for Freedom and Prosperity; National Taxpayers Union; The Committee for Justice; Consumer Action for a Strong Economy; Competitive Enterprise Institute; Americans for Prosperity; Shareholder Advocacy Forum; and Open Competition Center.
The full text of the letter can be read here or below:
May 27, 2022
Dear Member of Congress:
We, the undersigned organizations, write to express our strong concerns about the regulatory processes conducted at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the leadership of Chair Gary Gensler. The SEC has issued rulemakings under the Biden administration that (1) provide inadequate time for public comment and (2) supersede its statutory authority by pursuing binding rules that lack any Congressional authorization. Accordingly, we ask that the appropriate committees organize comprehensive oversight hearings of the SEC’s conduct under Chair Gensler.
With Chair Gensler at the helm, the SEC has pursued an aggressive regulatory agenda that prioritizes politics over practical implementation. Instead of allowing the public to provide thoughtful responses to complex rules, the SEC has issued multiple rules with overlapping comment periods—forcing stakeholders to write comments at a dizzying pace.
The SEC refuses to provide an adequate amount of time for public feedback for complex rulemakings. From 2021 to March 2022, 74 percent of the SEC’s rules provided only 30-day comment periods. Under Mary Jo White, 96 percent of SEC rules had at least 60-day comment periods. Under Jay Clayton, 85 percent of rules provided at least 60-day comment periods. In 2019, House and Senate Democrats asked the SEC to provide a comment period of at least 120 days for Community Reinvestment Act rulemakings. Last month, forty seven House Republicans and Democrats submitted a comment letter expressing concerns that the SEC’s comment periods for complex rules “may hamper the ability for the public to provide effective and meaningful input.” Additionally, the Office of the Federal Register’s Guide to the Rulemaking Process wrote that federal agencies may want to provide comment periods of “180 days or more” for complex rules.
The SEC is unlawfully issuing rules without mandates from Congress. The Administrative Procedure Act requires that any “substantive rule or order” must be issued “within jurisdiction delegated to the agency and as authorized by law.” The SEC’s rules on private fund advisers, climate-related disclosures, Form PF, alternative trading systems, and special purpose acquisition companies justify their provisions by stating they are in the “public interest.” However, court precedent clearly shows that federal agencies need statutory authorization to pursue rulemakings—issuing rules based solely on the “public interest” argument is insufficient.
Unilaterally issuing rules subverts the role of Congress and by extension citizens of the United States who elected members of Congress to represent them.
Due to the SEC’s unbridled executive overreach, we urge the appropriate committees of Congress to hold the SEC accountable and conduct oversight hearings with the chair and commissioners testifying.
We appreciate the time and consideration.
Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks
Ryan Ellis, President, Center for a Free Economy
Dick Patten, President, American Business Defense Council
Tom Schatz , President , Citizens Against Government Waste
Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
Steve Pociask, President / CEO, American Consumer Institute
Seton Motley, President, Less Government
Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment
Jim Martin, Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, President, 60 Plus Association
Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union
Curt Levey, President, The Committee for Justice
Gerard Scimeca, Chairman, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy
John Berlau, Director of Finance Policy, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Brent Wm. Gardner , Chief Government Affairs Officer , Americans for Prosperity
Bryan Bashur, Executive Director, Shareholder Advocacy Forum
Tom Hebert, Executive Director, Open Competition Center