|Washington, DC – The American Democracy Legal Fund (ADLF) has sent a complaint to the Inspector General of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into evidence that the right-wing group, the 60 Plus Association, engaged in an illegal, fraudulent campaign intended to influence a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule-making. |
The request follows a Bloomberg News report that 60 Plus Association was behind a fake grassroots letter campaign – supporting a proposed SEC rule change to limit the ability of corporate shareholders to submit proposals addressing social and environmental issues – such as executive pay and climate change. The report found instances where 60 Plus was behind letters submitted in the name of citizens who claimed to be unaware of the proposed rule-change or even that a letter had been submitted in their name at all.
During the hearing in which the SEC approved the proposed rule, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton specifically cited seven submissions from “Main Street investors” as “[s]ome of the letters that struck [him] the most.” According to the Bloomberg News’ investigation, all seven were drafted and submitted by 60 Plus as a part of their false campaign.
“The 60 Plus Association’s fraudulent campaign was an outright dishonest, and unfortunately apparently successful, effort to unduly influence SEC rule-making on behalf of big corporate interests,” said ADLF’s Brad Woodhouse. “It’s critical that the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate this misinformation effort – to uphold the law, ensure the honest operation of federal agencies, and protect against similar malicious efforts going forward.”
A PDF of the complaint is available here.