Public wins information, banks win delay

A week after the Federal Reserve released information from 2007-10 naming the banks which used its “main emergency aid program” (the “discount window“) at the conclusion of two FOIA requests/litigation, the public continues to learn more about how the program worked: March 31: The Associated Press reported that most of the emergency lending took place in September/October 2008, much of the lending was repaid the next day, and the high-water mark was around $110 billion. The AP explained that the Fed had admitted details of substantial lending in December 2010, but the agency had refused to identify which commercial banks [More]

SGI applauds Congress & White House for quick fix to overbroad FOIA exemption for the SEC

Today President Obama signed into law a bill that sped through the House and Senate to quickly fix an overbroad exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.  The Sunshine in Government Initiative appreciates the quick action and hard work of transparency leaders in Congress to correct this mistake.

Tracking FinReg’s SEC provision: Subtle word changes make a big difference

Between the legislative record for the SEC FOIA exemption in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and the recent written statement of Mary Schapiro, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, we have been able to clarify the origin and evolution of the three confidentiality provisions that became law in Section 929I.  And despite Schapiro’s descriptions of the provisions in terms that downplay the importance or effect of changes in the language, we have observed the addition of two phrases, in two stages, to the FOIA exemptions in what would become Section 929I of the financial reform legislation. The first change [More]

SGI testifies about new SEC FOIA exemption statute

SGI Coordinator Rick Blum provided testimony to the House Financial Services Committee regarding the Committee’s review of Section 929I of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”). Section 929I added three statutory exemptions – known as “b(3)”s, after the subsection of FOIA permitting them – for the Securities and Exchange Commission to use to withhold information from FOIA requesters. Blum argued that Section 929I is overbroad and should be re-written; only Congress can repair 929I; Congress should not risk waiting and having an overbroad interpretation of 929I become ensconced in agency practice; and this process can be part [More]

SEC & FOIA Exemption in Dodd-Frank: Your Take?

Update 8/9/10:  The hearing on the SEC FOIA exemption has been moved up to September 16th. Original Post: We need some input.  You may have read that the financial reform law includes a provision that allows the SEC to withhold certain investigative files confidential.  Fox Business is attacking this as a broad exemption ripe for abuse, while SEC says it really is meant narrowly and will issue guidance.  And today the House Financial Services Committee announced a hearing on September 23rd September 16 to look into the matter. What’s the impact on journalists who’ve covered the SEC? Let us know [More]