Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

SEC's exemption makes mockery of transparency

Editorial

Source: The News Journal

August 6, 2010

Remember just a few days ago when President Obama signed the financial regulation reform bill? Official Washington promised a new day, a time of transparency and openness.

Well it turns out that the officials forgot to add that those fine words didn't apply to the regulators.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, using its influence on Congress, had it written into law that it is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

That's right. The people whose job it is to make sure the nation's most powerful markets operate openly and fairly made sure the public couldn't see what they do.

Now if the SEC really played the part of the good sheriff before the economy collapsed, we might understand its squeamishness about revealing its secrets. But, if you will recall, the SEC missed a few big ones, such as Bernard Madoff and the Standard Financial frauds. Also, quite a few of its employees got caught watching Internet pornography on taxpayer time.

So where did these people get the nerve to tell the public to butt out?

We'll leave that answer up to you. But the law must be changed.

Delaware's Sen. Ted KAUFMAN, a frequent critic of SEC shenanigans and incompetence, has joined with a handful of Democratic and Republican senators to pull the SEC out of the shadows. Their bill would eliminate the FOIA exemption for certain records. Congress and the president should get behind this bill.

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