Senate Democrats seek probe of SEC comments to Citigroup on guns


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democrats on Wednesday asked the Securities and Exchange Commission’s inspector general to investigate reports that Commissioner Michael Piwowar linked possible regulatory action to Citigroup’s policy on gun sales.

Michael Piwowar, Commissioner, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, speaks at the Milken Institute 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Citigroup in March added restrictions on firearms sales for new retail-sector clients after a mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, drawing the ire of the U.S. gun lobby.

“Recent news reports indicate that the Commissioner ‘castigat[ed] them for straying into social policy’ while ‘glowering and speaking emphatically’ about guns,” the senators said in the letter.

“Most concerning are reports that Commissioner Piwowar delivered a ‘thinly veiled threat’ by suggesting that the Commission would withhold support for Citigroup’s regulatory request due to the company’s unrelated and entirely lawful corporate practices relating to firearms.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama