Broc Romanek has details:
“Nobody told me there’d be days like these. Strange days indeed – strange days indeed.” John Lennon’s words, but they apply to yesterday’s news out of the SEC. First, the two Republican Commissioners – Michael Piwowar & Dan Gallagher – issued this joint statement on the conflict minerals court decision. This prompt many members to assume this means that these two lost their argument and that the SEC is not issuing a stay on the conflict mineral rule, which some had expected would happen. But the SEC hasn’t said so – at least not yet – so we are all still awaiting that important decision (this WSJ article says that the SEC is preparing to implement the bulk of the rule).
Outside of the context of rule adoption and speeches, it’s pretty rare for Commissioners to issue statements like this to publicly air disputes. However, the Commission increasingly has become partisan over the past decade – and this joint statement is not that big of a surprise given the fight over the conflict mineral rule all along.
What was surprising though was the second news of the day – a dissent on a WKSI waiver! And this time by Democratic Commissioner Kara Stein! I feel bad for Chair Mary Jo White who might have a tougher time garnering consensus going forward. Back when I worked for a Commissioner in the late ’90s, Chair Arthur Levitt rarely would take a matter to a vote unless he knew he had a 5-0 vote in his pocket. That certainly is ancient history…
I had a former SEC Commissioner once tell me that the chairman during his tenure on the SEC treated the other 4 commissioners--regardless of party affiliation--like mushrooms. Votes were pro forma, at best.