Sheryl Garrett Should Have Distanced Herself From Obama Like The AARP

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Sheryl Garrett Should Have Distanced Herself From Obama Like The AARP

In “Did Obama Violate an SEC Regulation?” we wrote:

Even if she is innocent of abetting or soliciting an endorsement, to comply with SEC regulations, Garrett is not allowed to refer to the president’s endorsement.

This means removing any social media posts she can and remaining completely silent about the endorsement on her website. It might even mean posting a disclaimer stating, “In accordance with SEC law, I have not asked for nor am I circulating any endorsements or testimonials. Please help me comply with this regulation.”

This is what the AARP did after President Obama’s flagrant misuse of their name in the 2012 Denver Presidential Debate when they wrote:

While we respect the rights of each campaign to make its case to voters, AARP has never consented to the use of its name by any candidate or political campaign. AARP is a nonpartisan organization and we do not endorse political candidates nor coordinate with any candidate or political party.

Had Sheryl Garrett been thinking about her responsibility as Chief Compliance Officer of the Garrett Planning Network, she might have written:

The SEC’s anti-testimonial rule prohibits advisors from promoting any statement of a client’s experience or endorsement. It also requires them to stop any testimonial from being distributed that they are reasonably capable of preventing.

As Chief Compliance Officer of the Garrett Planning Network, I did not solicit nor did I even know that the President was going to single me out for a testimonial regarding my advice, analysis, reports or other services rendered.

The President has no personal knowledge of any of the descriptions he gave. And any described experiences do not mean that the results would be repeatable. Such implications are, according to the SEC, fraudulent marketing.

I did not consent to the use of my name in such a context. I have instructed members of the Garrett Planning Network to remain silent about the President’s words. And I ask that others help me in complying with the SEC’s anti-testimonial rules and regulations by not promoting any resulting media stories which repeat the President’s remarks.

Some such statement would have been better than repeating the testimonial and promoting the story on the Garrett Planning Network.

It isn’t too late to print a retraction.

Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.

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David John Marotta is the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games. In addition to his financial writing, David is a co-author of The Haunting of Bob Cratchit.