July 21, 2022

Banking Republicans Criticize Gensler for Stonewalling Congressional Inquiry Into SEC’s Proposed Climate Rule

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Banking Committee Republicans today criticized Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler for the SEC’s lack of transparency and disregard for a significant congressional oversight request concerning the SEC’s 500-page proposed climate disclosure rule—a sweeping new regulation that will harm consumers, workers, and the entire U.S. economy at a time when energy prices are skyrocketing.

On June 15th, Banking Republicans sent a letter asking the SEC to submit answers by June 29th to a number of questions. The Senators also requested that the SEC preserve and turn over a number of records related to the proposed rule by June 29th.

On July 12thnearly two weeks past the deadline—Chairman Gensler responded to the Senators’ letter with a perfunctory one-page response that included none of the answers or records requested.

“Your response is wholly inadequate and unacceptable,” the Senators wrote. “In our letter, we asked only a few simple and straightforward questions, including questions that should result in simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers such as:

  • ‘Has the SEC considered the impact that the proposed climate disclosure rule would have on energy prices and any other costs associated with the rule?’; and
  • ‘Has the SEC coordinated with any other Federal agencies on the policies contained in the proposed climate disclosure rule?’”

As the Senators point out, Chairman Gensler’s response completely ignored the request for records and did not indicate that the SEC is taking steps to preserve all records related to the proposed climate rule.

“A member of the public who submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request would be entitled to receive more records from the SEC than what the SEC has given members of the Senate committee overseeing the commission,” the Senators wrote.

Banking Republicans also pointed out the impact that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, West Virginia v. EPA, could have on the SEC’s proposed climate rule.

“Subsequent to our letter to you, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision that reinforces the importance of congressional oversight of the SEC’s climate disclosure rule,” the Senators wrote. “In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the executive branch and its agencies, including financial regulators, cannot use creative, new interpretations of existing law to pretend they have legal authority to support sweeping policy changes that Congress never intended. Unfortunately, the SEC appears to be trying to act in precisely this way with its climate disclosure rule.”

To read Banking Republicans’ full letter to Chairman Gensler, click here.