Senator Elizabeth Warren argued that "the SEC has spent precious agency resources on a voluntary effort to reduce disclosure that appears to be aimed at addressing a problem – investor 'information overload' – that does not exist." In a letter addressed to SEC Chair Mary Jo White regarding the SEC's "Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative," Senator Warren urged SEC Chair Mary Jo White to refocus the agency's "efforts on the interests of investors, not the large corporations that are seeking to limit disclosures."
Specifically, Senator Warren argued:
the Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative went "well beyond any congressional mandate" by taking the narrow authority in the JOBS Act "and transform[ing] it into a comprehensive review of disclosure requirements";
the Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative was "designed to reduce disclosures to ease the burden on issuers – not to address actual investor concerns" by focusing "on reducing disclosure in the name of protecting investors from a nonexistent problem: 'information overload'";
the SEC failed to finalize twenty mandatory disclosure rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, and pursue other investor priorities, while working on this voluntary initiative; and
the SEC should focus its attention on reforms that benefit investors, particularly by working with the investor community to effectively implement the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.
Senator Warren charged that:
The [SEC] has defied the will of Congress and its mission to protect investors and instead has pursued an agenda aligned with the narrow interests of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big business.
Senator Warren also requested that Ms. White respond to several questions about the implementation of the Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative and FAST Act mandates by August 1, 2016.
SEC Chair Mary Jo White testified before the Senate Banking Committee. She noted progress and completion of rulemakings required by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act and the Dodd-Frank Act.