In this recent post, I discussed a petition submitted by Professor Lucian Bebchuk and nine other academics asking that the Securities and Exchange Commission adopt rules requiring public companies to disclose to shareholders the use of corporate resources for political activities. The Commission has received over a quarter of a million comments in response to this petition. In the last three months, Chairman Mary L. Schapiro or members of her staff met privately on three different occasions with supporters of the petition. Are these ex parte contacts legal?
Like Keith Bishop, I find these secret communications between proponents of shareholder activism and the SEC's top brass very worrisome. And, of course, private ex part communications in this context are more than a bit hypocritical, since the activists claim they're trying to promote transparency.