Not so fast, Securities and Exchange Commission, Obama signs transparency bill

Just when you thought that the Securities and Exchange Commission was going to get away with being exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests after the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill was passed, President Obama has yanked the leash.

From the White House, among the bills Obama signed today is:

S. 3717, which repeals certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that give the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) protection from compelled disclosure of certain information related to surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities; and specifies that any entity regulated by the SEC is a “financial institution” for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act exemption for information.

When the exemption had been first reported, The Examiner editorialized:

Perhaps no other government agency has seen so many high-profile failures in recent years as the SEC. The regulatory agency failed to anticipate the collapse of insurance behemoth AIG, and it whiffed on the related mortgage securities free-for-all that wrecked the economy, prompting trillions in taxpayer bailouts. Despite warnings about his dealings going back to 1992, it failed to act on numerous tips that Bernie Madoff was running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme. The SEC also missed mountebank Allen Stanford’s billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, despite tips going back 12 years.

At the time, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said there was a 100 percent change of this exemption getting repealed. Turns out, he was right.

Beltway ConfidentialDarrell Issafinancial reformUS

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