SEC building
SEC building - 


Lisa Napoli: It's not exactly an all-star cast, but it's a big deal: All five members of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will be on Capitol Hill today.

They've been asked to appear before the House Financial Services Committee. This is something that hasn't happened for 10 years. From Washington, Jeremy Hobson says there's a lot to talk about.

Jeremy Hobson: This is a chance for lawmakers to ask SEC commissioners about some of the big issues that have been all over the news — taxing private equity funds, regulating hedge funds and giving shareholders a say on executive pay.

But for University of Delaware corporate governance professor Charles Elson, it's mostly just politics.

Charles Elson: Any time you take a regulator to task, there's plenty of points to be scored — frankly, because you can always find something that a regulator has done ineffectively.

Elson says it's a political win-win for those doing the grilling. As for why now?

Elson: You have divided government. This sort of thing happens, and it's been a long time.

Indeed, one former member of the SEC says this is a chance for Democrats to put themselves firmly on the side of investors and the public at large.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson