Key Senate Democrat: Financial reform bill was wrong to exempt SEC from FOIA requests 

Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., is now upset to learn that that a provision in the ballyhooed financial reform bill exempts the Securities and Exchange Comission from Freedom of Information Act requests:

The Freedom of Information Act is our nation’s premier open government law, and a powerful guardian of the public’s right to know. The Wall Street reform bill that has now become law makes great strides toward enhancing transparency in our financial system. However, I am concerned that an overly broad Freedom of Information Act exemption, originally drafted in the House of Representatives and which was included in the final law, is contrary to the very important goals of the Wall Street Reform bill – restoring accountability and transparency to our financial markets. The SEC should immediately issue guidance narrowly interpreting this FOIA exemption in a manner that is both consistent with the President’s policy of government transparency and with Congressional intent. I will work with the Obama administration and others in Congress to ensure that the SEC remains subject to FOIA and accountable to the American people.

Translation: I didn’t know what was in the bill I vigorously supported. For more on why exempting the SEC from FOIA requests is bad, see Friday’s Examiner editorial:

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Mark Hemingway

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