The SEC is now exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests..
"It appears the media covering the fight over the financial reform bill overlooked that clause in the law until the SEC contacted Fox Business to tell the news network it will not get a response to a request for information filed this spring," reports Raw Story.
Overlooking the clause is not a surprise. No one read the entire bill. Each paragraph was put in the bill for very special purposes, only those who put the paragraphs in the bill, understood the ramifications of the paragraphs.
The relevant clause in the new law states that the SEC "shall not be compelled to disclose records or information" if that information was obtained for the purposes of "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Fox Business described that as amounting to "almost every action by the agency."
Rob Reuteman, president of the SABEW, said in a statement Wednesday that his organization's membership was "appalled" by the change to the law, which "appears to roll back 43 years of transparency in government under the Freedom of Information Act."
Thanks to freedom-of-information requests, "we now know that the SEC itself botched investigations of Bernie Madoff, who fleeced investors of tens of billions of dollars and now sits in prison," Reuteman said. "The SEC has been forced to institute internal reforms as a result of its own investigative shortcomings that came to light. ... But under the provisions in this new law, the SEC no longer has to comply with such requests for information."
According to RS, Reuteman said that the SEC has argued that it needs to be exempt from FOIA requests because it will be easier to obtain documents needed to prosecute financial criminals.
"Don't fall for that line of reasoning," Reuteman said. "Government agencies have always been able to censor the documents they are forced to release, in order to withhold such sensitive information."
And so there you have it, the ultimate in hypocrisy. The agency, that regularly files charges against corporations that fail to disclose material facts, snuck into the Finance "Reform" Bill regulations that will allow it to hide material facts about its own operations.