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Groups Challenge SEC Chair Schapiro’s Claims on Secrecy

August 3, 2010 

 

Today, a coalition of good government groups responded to a letter sent by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Mary Schapiro to Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) regarding a FOIA exemption in the financial reform bill. Schapiro defended the provision, and promised it would be narrowly applied. But the groups said this was not sufficient to allay concerns given the overly broad language in the provision and the SEC’s proclivity for withholding records from the public.

“Once again, it appears the SEC is bending over backwards to protect the companies it regulates,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “The agency already has all the authority it needs to subpoena records and prevent the release of sensitive business information – do we really want to give them more authority to withhold records from the public?”

Section 929I of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act exempts the SEC from disclosing through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) certain records obtained from the companies it regulates. In their letter, the groups raised concerns that this provision could severely limit the public’s ability to obtain vital information on the SEC’s oversight activities, and could drastically reduce transparency and accountability at the agency.

The groups urged Senator Dodd and Representative Frank to repeal the unnecessary FOIA exemption, examine the SEC’s current record on withholding information, and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the SEC isn’t given any additional authority to keep its records under a veil of secrecy.
 
 
Read the groups’ letter here.

Read SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro's letter to Senator Dodd and Rep. Frank.


Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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