MSRB Provides Education for Issuers on Disclosure of Bond Ballot Campaign Contributions

Date: November 20, 2013

Contact: Jennifer A. Galloway, Chief Communications Officer
                 (703) 797-6600


Alexandria, VA – The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) has prepared a new educational resource to assist state and local governments in understanding the information that will be made public regarding municipal securities dealers’ contributions to bond ballot campaigns and any resulting municipal securities underwriting business. The MSRB began requiring additional disclosures in July 2013 to promote greater transparency surrounding dealers’ involvement in bond ballot campaigns, which secure voter approval for taxpayer-funded public projects.

The MSRB requires municipal securities dealers to disclose information on their political contributions on a quarterly basis. Disclosures for July through September 2013 are now available on the MSRB’s Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website.

“As part of its mission to promote market transparency, the MSRB is evaluating the perceived link between dealers’ financial contributions and the awarding of municipal securities underwriting business,” said MSRB Executive Director Lynnette Kelly. “If the additional disclosures demonstrate a pattern between giving to bond ballot campaigns and getting underwriting business, the MSRB will consider further action to address the appearance of pay-to-play.”

The MSRB protects investors, state and local governments and other municipal entities, and the public interest by promoting a fair and efficient municipal securities market. The MSRB fulfills this mission by regulating the municipal securities firms, banks and municipal advisors that engage in municipal securities and advisory activities. To further protect market participants, the MSRB provides market transparency through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, the official repository for information on all municipal bonds. The MSRB also serves as an objective resource on the municipal market, conducts extensive education and outreach to market stakeholders, and provides market leadership on key issues. The MSRB is a self-regulatory organization governed by a 21-member board of directors that has a majority of public members, in addition to representatives of regulated entities. The MSRB is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress.