WASHINGTON -- The House Commerce Committee panel with jurisdiction over securities issues is planning to hold a hearing on Jan. 10 on municipal bond disclosure.
The hearing, which is to be held by the subcommittee on telecommunications and finance, is not designed to focus on the Orange County, Calif., investment fiasco, a spokesman for Rep. Jack Fields, the subcommittee chairman, said.
"This is not an Orange County hearing," said the spokesman for the Texas Republican. "It is a hearing on the state of the art in municipal disclosure -- what has been accomplished over the last year and what remains to be done."
But questions whether Orange County officials made proper disclosures about their investments are likely to be raised at the hearing by Rep. Christopher Cox, a Republican representing the county who will have a seat on the subcommittee in the next Congress, the spokesman said.
Cox has complained that county officials failed to fully disclose their risky investment strategies and has said he plans to introduce legislation early next year that would subject municipal issuers to the same disclosure requirements as corporate issuers, possibly including registration.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, the Public Securities Association, and the Government Finance Officers Association have been asked to testify at the hearing.
The SEC approved secondary market disclosure rules for the municipal market last month and issued primary and secondary disclosure guidelines for municipal market participants last March.
In addition to the subcommittee proceedings, the Senate Banking Committee plans to hold hearings Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 and the House Banking Committee will hold hearings in mid-January, both to discuss Orange County issues.