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The Livestock Industry Has Side-Stepped Scrutiny Again

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made headlines around the world this week by voting to move forward with rules that will require public companies to disclose climate-related business risks to investors. Some lawmakers have welcomed the mandate from the U.S.’s most powerful financial regulator, which will now force firms to share at least some emissions data. But climate and environment campaigners are concerned about loopholes in the new rules, which have failed to include “Scope 3,” i.e. indirect, greenhouse gas emissions.

Occupy The SEC Submits Letter To Financial Regulators On The Proposed Weakening Of Volcker Rule Regulations

The Volcker Rule was passed as part of the Dodd Frank Act of 2010 in order to help avert another financial crisis similar to the Great Recession of 2008. That crisis was caused in large part by excessive bank speculation in trading markets, and the Volcker Rule seeks to reduce the risk associated with these activities by prohibiting proprietary trading by government-backstopped banks. In October 2011, the Agencies proposed regulations implementing the Volcker Rule. In February 2012, OSEC issued a 325 page comment letter to the banking regulators urging vigorous and robust implementation of the Volcker Rule. OSEC also issued letters to members of Congress in the summer of 2012 during the government’s investigation into JP Morgan’s “London Whale” $6 billion trading loss...

The Latest Sneaky Attempt To Increase Corporate Political Power

By John Light for Moyers and Company - “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring,” John Oliver said in 2014 of the tireless efforts of telecomm monopolists to get rid of net neutrality. It’s a tried and true strategy of the wealthy and their legislative allies, and, while Donald Trump’s destructive antics continue to hold America’s attention with the same unyielding grip he uses on foreign dignitaries’ hands, there are a lot of boring things ambling through Congress with corporate favors crammed deep inside. While Donald Trump’s destructive antics continue to hold America’s attention with the same unyielding grip he uses on foreign dignitaries’ hands, there are a lot of boring things ambling through Congress with corporate favors crammed deep inside. And so it is with the House’s appropriations bill, which includes riders that would further pare back campaign finance rules that have already been decimated over the last decade, in large part through Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC. These rulings and a Congress hell-bent on deregulating the campaign finance system has lead to increasingly expensive elections, with the money that helps candidates win often pouring in from anonymous interests. Watchdog groups and journalists call these billions from shadowy sources “dark money.”

SEC Probe Called Possible ‘Moment Of Reckoning’ For Exxon’s Climate Crimes

By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams - Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that "[t]he SEC sought information and documents in August from Exxon as well as the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The federal agency has also been receiving documents that the company submitted as part of a continuing probe into similar issues begun last year by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman."

Two SEC Officials Saying ‘No’ To Bank Of America

In August, the Justice Department announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over the fraudulent sale of mortgage-backed securities (in reality, the cost to the bank is significantly lower). But two months later, one small part of the settlement has not been finalized in federal court: a $135.84 million cash distribution to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The reason for the holdup could raise the stakes for financial institutions that commit fraud, and over time stabilize the system as a whole, simply because two SEC commissioners have dared to try to maintain the consequences for misconduct. Under current SEC rules, financial firms that settle fraud investigations automatically incur a number of additional penalties. Many of these mandatory actions date back to the creation of the SEC during the Great Depression. The SEC can ban institutions from managing mutual funds, prevent them from working with private companies to find investors, and force SEC approval for any stocks or bonds that the firm issues on its own behalf. These penalties and disqualifications cut into profits, and in many ways can be as damaging as the settlements themselves.

Dominion Cove Point Is Risky Business

Dominion Resources convened its annual shareholder meeting on May 7 in Cleveland, Ohio amidst controversy surrounding its plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in southern Maryland. Protestors from Maryland, Virginia and Ohio environmental groups gathered outside the meeting to demonstrate against the Cove Point plant. They believe LNG export from Cove Point will incentivize fracking in the region and lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions. Dominion also has to contend with a complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 6, claiming that it has been deceptive about the environmental and financial risks associated with the Cove Point terminal. Several environmental groups and a single shareholder sent a letter to the SEC citing significant financial and environmental risks associated with the project. Regulatory hurdles and litigation have already set the start of construction back at least six months. A Dominion executive disclosed the delay in a quarterly conference call but not in the SEC filing. Dominion has also resisted having a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement for Cove Point, which might reveal impacts on operations in a facility located in an environmentally sensitive area.
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