Probes Reporter Exposes Systematic SEC FOIA Failures


A recent report from Probes Reporter highlights serious issues regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) ongoing practice of systematically and intentionally failing to follow the legal requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

The report was filed with the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform earlier this week, and highlights how the SEC’s willful failures to comply with  FOIA make a mockery of the SEC’s supposed role as an “investor’s advocate”.

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Details on new report on SEC from Probes Reporter

The report is titled A Failure of Transparency: The Securities and Exchange Commission and a Pattern and Practice of FOIA Violation and details the methods by which the SEC intentionally hides important information regarding investigations of publicly traded companies under its purview. The report highlights:

  • “The SEC’s refusal to disclose “Case Closing Recommendations,” which are government documents that summarize why an SEC investigation was opened, the investigator’s factual findings and the conclusions reached.
  • Repeatedly making false or incomplete statements regarding the existence of documents related to SEC investigations.
  • Blatant disregard for the President’s instruction to federal agencies to disclose documents that are within the agency’s discretion to do so.”
In his letter to the House Oversight Committee, attorney Charles J. Glasser, Jr. Esq. representing Probes Reporter noted that the report includes only a few instances that make clear the SEC’s willful avoidance of the discharge of their FOIA responsibilities. Glasser emphasizes that that these are not anomalous instances. Furthermore, the issues noted in the report are not unique to Probes Reporter’s experience with the SEC, many other media and lobbying organizations have experienced the same systematic stonewalling with FOIA requests by the agency.

Statement from House Oversight Committee spokesperson

“Over the years I have heard from many of you that the FOIA process is broken,” House Oversight Committee spokesperson Melissa Subbotin Sillin commented in an email to reporters on the topic of FOIA. “Many requests go unaddressed, come back heavily redacted for no apparent reason, or are ignored altogether. Both majority and minority committee members are coming together to do a deep analysis to find where the problems exist and what fixes need to be made.”