- Internal emails show SEC coordinated with AI firm Persefoni while crafting climate disclosure rules that stand to benefit the company financially.
- SEC counsel Kristina Wyatt worked closely with Persefoni on the rules, then left SEC to join Persefoni as deputy GC to advise on the new requirements.
- Emails reveal meetings between SEC and Persefoni while rules were formulated, raising ethics concerns and accelerating Congressional investigation.
Internal emails show the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) coordinated with Persefoni, an artificial intelligence firm, while crafting pending climate disclosure rules that stand to financially benefit the company.
SEC Counsel Worked Closely with Persefoni Before Joining as Executive
Kristina Wyatt, the SEC’s former senior counsel for climate and ESG, actively coordinated with Persefoni on developing the disclosure regulations ultimately proposed in March 2022. After this coordination, Wyatt left the SEC and joined Persefoni as deputy general counsel, where she now counsels clients on “evolving ESG disclosure requirements.”
Persefoni Stands to Gain From New Rules
In March 2022, the SEC proposed climate disclosure rules requiring publicly-listed companies to share wide-ranging climate data. As a result, Persefoni is poised to gain many new clients needing its software to track climate information. The Arizona company received $50 million in funding in August and has resources on preparing for the SEC rules.
Emails Show SEC-Persefoni Meetings While Rules Were Formulated
Emails show Persefoni first contacted Wyatt in September 2021 to discuss the disclosure rules. Persefoni then met with SEC staff, including SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s policy counsel. Further emails reveal two November 2021 meetings between the SEC and Persefoni.
Wyatt Discussed Joining Persefoni Before Departing SEC
Emails show Wyatt thanked a Persefoni executive in January 2022 for speaking with her, saying the company does “such important work.” She said she looked forward to “great fun and work” if they end up together. Five days later, Wyatt departed the SEC, listing her destination as “unknown.”
Wyatt Joined Persefoni Weeks Before SEC Unveiled Proposal
Just before the SEC’s March proposal, Persefoni announced hiring Wyatt to ensure companies can properly measure and report emissions. Wyatt said she was “thrilled to join Persefoni’s industry-leading team.”
SEC Says it Seeks Wide Input, Employees Go Many Places
An SEC spokesperson said it seeks input from diverse stakeholders and noted employees regularly leave for many types of organizations. The spokesperson added any final rule would also cite information relied upon.
Investigation into SEC Ethics Concerns Accelerated
After obtaining the Persefoni emails, a consumer group shared a report with Congress, hoping to aid probes into SEC interactions with private firms. House Republicans said the report confirms fears and accelerates investigation into the climate disclosure rulemaking.
The email exchanges reveal questionable coordination between the SEC and Persefoni while developing climate disclosure rules that stand to significantly benefit the company. This has accelerated Congressional oversight into potential ethics concerns.