Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.
That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings."
Well, yes. Obama also declared that his administration would practise "historic levels of openness". Instead, it has practiced historic levels of furtiveness. So, the declaration appears to be entirely in keeping with the Obama administration's record thus far.
As far as I can see, no-one outside the SEC and Congress benefits from this provision. As noted in the article, it allows the SEC to deny public access to virtually all SEC records, make its own rules about records disclosure without needing OMB approval, refuse to cooperate with ongoing investigations, and cover up its failures.
This is yet another reason why Congress should not be allowed to pass these monster two-thousand-page bills such as H.R. 4173. It makes it WAY too easy to bury landmines like this a thousand or fifteen hundred pages in.
At what point do We, The People as a whole wake up and realize that our own government is at war against us?