Since 1972 the Securities & Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) has maintained a rule that imposes a gag order on settling defendants in civil enforcement actions. In 2003, Barry D. Romeril, CFO for Xerox, entered into a consent agreement with the SEC that included the following language:
“Defendant understands and agrees to comply with the [SEC]’s policy ‘not to permit a defendant . . . to consent to a judgment or order that imposes a sanction while denying the allegation in the complaint . . . .’ 17 C.F.R. § 202.5. In compliance with this policy, Defendant agrees not to take any action or to make or permit to be made any public statement denying, directly or indirectly, any allegation in the complaint or creating the impression that the complaint is without factual basis. If Defendant breaches this agreement, the [SEC] may petition the Court to vacate the Final Judgment and restore this action to its active docket. Nothing in this paragraph affects Defendant’s: (i) testimonial obligations; or (ii) right to take legal or factual positions in litigation in which the [SEC] is not a party.”
Language to this effect is in every consent agreement with the SEC. The CFTC and FINRA also place substantively identical injunctions regarding what defendants can say about their cases once they settle.