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Monday, January 09, 2006

SEC and Chamber of Commerce Face Off in Court

by: Armie Margaret Lee

In the latest chapter of its legal tussle with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Securities and Exchange Commission argued last week that it acted "properly, professionally and responsibly" when it readopted a mutual-fund rule, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The oral argument took place Friday before U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.

At the center of the dispute is a rule passed by the SEC in 2004 which requires that the chair of a mutual fundís board of directors and 75 percent of board members be independent of the fund adviser.

The rule, initially set to take effect this month, was challenged by the Chamber, which argued that the SEC had gone beyond scope of its authority. Last June, the appellate court sent the rule back to the SEC to evaluate the costs that would accompany the ruleís provisions. After eight days, the SEC readopted the rule. The Chamber frowned on the review, saying the SEC had readopted the rule without soliciting public input.

Eugene Scalia, a lawyer for the Chamber, said the SEC acted "in a rush to judgment." 

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