Revision of the Securities Acts

May 16, 1940

Report Outline
Criticism of S. E. C. Laws and Procedure
Regulatory Functions of the S. E. C.
S. E. C. Regulation and Business Recovery

Criticism of S. E. C. Laws and Procedure

Demands for revision of the laws administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and for revision of rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission, have become increasingly insistent during recent weeks. The mounting dissatisfaction of financial and business interests with various provisions of the securities acts, and with their administration by the S. E. C., has found expression in outspoken public criticism and in urgent pleas for a congressional investigation to lay the groundwork for revision of the statutes and of the procedure by which they are enforced. While there is little likelihood that Congress will authorize a special inquiry into S. E. C. laws and administration at the current session, the tendency of Repub lican presidential candidates to assail the securities acts and the S. E. C.'s rules and regulations as burdensome and restrictive, and as a major obstacle to recovery, makes it probable that these questions will be vigorously debated in the coming political campaign.

Significance of House Vote on Walter-Logan Bill

House passage of the Walter-Loan bill, April 18, 1940, by the impressive majority of 282 to 97 was generally regarded as indicative of a strong popular trend against unrestrained exercise of administrative authority by New Deal agencies. Although the bill was strenuously opposed by the Roosevelt administration, only 93 Democrats voted against it. This measure, providing for (1) a uniform procedure for issuance of rules and regulations by administrative agencies and (2) judicial review of such rules and regulations, would apply to the S. E. C. as well as to numerous other New Deal agencies. While its sponsors contend that the bill would provide needed protection against arbitrary exercise of bureaucratic powers, its opponents insist that it would hamstring government agencies in performance of their legitimate functions.

Present S. E. C. Vacancy and Future S. E. C. Policy

Resignation, March 26, of Commissioner George C. Mathews, a member of the S. E. C. since its organization in 1934, has left a vacancy which President Roosevelt has not yet filled. The President's choice of a successor to Mathews is being awaited with keen interest, since the appointment is expected to provide an answer to the question of whether the Commission in future will continue on the middle-of-the-road course favored by its chairman, Jerome N. Frank, or whether it will adopt a more aggressive attitude in enforcing the laws which it administers.

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Commercial Law
Regulation and Deregulation
Regulation and Deregulation