Records just released by the SEC pertaining to its votes to bring legal action against companies and individuals revealed that the Commission is less divided on such votes than was commonly thought. The data revealed that SEC commissioners vote unanimously almost every time they take companies and executives to federal court. This is a stark contrast to the public disagreements that occur over regulatory matters, which in recent years have included the interpretation of rule-making requirements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

In total, 94% of the cases that have been brought since April 2013, when Mary Jo White became the agency’s chair, were done so unanimously.

The SEC decision to publish its voting records followed a Reuters request under the Freedom of Information Act request several years ago. The SEC had initially resisted release of internal voting records on purported privilege grounds.

The published data covers slightly more than 1,400 defendants in 414 cases filed in federal courts from April 11, 2013, through August 26, 2016.


Jeff Petersen is an attorney licensed in California and Illinois representing clients in a wide variety of SEC investigations and enforcement actions. He can be reached in California at 858.792.3666 and in Illinois at 312.583.7488.