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OUTRAGE: FinReg Law Exempts SEC From Public Disclosure Requirements

Who slipped this one into the bill?  Full story on the inside.


So much for transparency.

Under a little-noticed provision of the recently passed financial-reform legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.

That argument comes despite the President saying that one of the cornerstones of the sweeping new legislation was more transparent financial markets. Indeed, in touting the new law, Obama specifically said it would “increase transparency in financial dealings."

The SEC cited the new law Tuesday in a FOIA action brought by FOX Business Network. Steven Mintz, founding partner of law firm Mintz & Gold LLC in New York, lamented what he described as “the backroom deal that was cut between Congress and the SEC to keep the  SEC’s failures secret. The only losers here are the American public.”

If the SEC’s interpretation stands, Mintz, who represents FOX Business Network, predicted “the next time there is a Bernie Madoff failure the American public will not be able to obtain the SEC documents that describe the failure,” referring to the shamed broker whose Ponzi scheme cost investors billions.

The SEC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Criticism of the provision has been swift. “It allows the SEC to block the public’s access to virtually all SEC records,” said Gary Aguirre, a former SEC staff attorney-turned-whistleblower who had accused the agency of thwarting an investigation into hedge fund Pequot Asset Management in 2005. “It permits the SEC to promulgate its own rules and regulations regarding the disclosure of records without getting the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, which typically applies to all federal agencies.”

Aguirre used FOIA requests in his own lawsuit against the SEC, which the SEC settled this year by paying him $755,000. Aguirre, who was fired in September 2005, argued that supervisors at the SEC stymied an investigation of Pequot – a charge that prompted an investigation by the Senate Judiciary and Finance committees.

The SEC closed the case in 2006, but would re-open it three years later. This year, Pequot and its founder, Arthur Samberg, were forced to pay $28 million to settle insider-trading charges related to shares of Microsoft (MSFT: 26.05 ,-0.11 ,-0.42%). The settlement with Aguirre came shortly later.

“From November 2008 through January 2009, I relied heavily on records obtained from the SEC through FOIA in communications to the FBI, Senate investigators, and the SEC in arguing the SEC had botched its initial investigation of Pequot’s trading in Microsoft securities and thus the SEC should reopen it, which it did,” Aguirre said. “The new legislation closes access to such records, even when the investigation is closed.






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General Electric has agreed to pay $23.5m to settle allegations from US regulators that its subsidiaries bribed Iraqi officials to win contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Programme between 2000 and 2003.

The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission is the second in as many years for GE. Last year, the company agreed to pay $50m to resolve charges of accounting fraud relating to hedging activities in 2002 and 2003.

In both cases GE said it had co-operated with investigators and, despite the settlements, it neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

According to the SEC, GE violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as part of a $3.6m “kickback scheme”. Executives at two subsidiaries and two groups later bought by GE allowed agents to give Iraqi health ministry officials payments to win contracts for medical and water purification equipment, the SEC claimed.

Jul 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Nice catch. I just saw this myself.

Where's the media outrage over this? (sarcasm) Probably too busy covering for Obama and sweating it over the "Tea Party".
Jul 28, 2010 at 2:23 PM | Registered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
I think DB they only told us what we wanted to hear on that law. Maby it is to keep guys like you from having a full blowen "Come-a-Part", and maby a hart-a-tack.

Like you said a few days ago. No One will ever be tried or go to jail. Its just one big spalsh for the American People, to make them think they are trying for our sakes to get it right. Were always the loser in the end........!
Jul 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered Commentertexasdar
Where's the media outrage over this? (sarcasm) Probably too busy covering for Obama and sweating it over the "Tea Party".

Here is whAre it is................with the people.

Subject: Colorado rancher sums it up....

A friend of mine received this email. He wasn't sure it was for real so he went to Snopes and they had no reference to it, so he emailed this guy Gary Hubbell to see if he wrote it. Here is his reply.

Yes, indeed, I did write that. Thanks for your compliments.


Gary Hubbell, Broker/Owner
United Country Colorado Brokers
Hotchkiss, CO 81419
970 872 3322 970 872 3322 office
970 988 2122 970 988 2122 cell
970 921 5588 970 921 5588 home
970 872 3323 office fax
email: grandviewranch@gmail .com<mailto:grandviewranch@gmail%20.com>
web: www.uccoloradobrokers.com<http://www.uccoloradobrokers.com>
web: www.aspenranchrealestate.com<http://www.aspenranchrealestate.com>

http://www.aspentimes .com/article/20100228/ASPENWEEKLY/100229854/

Barack Obama has awakened a sleeping nation
Gary Hubbell
Aspen Times Weekly February 2010

Barack Obama is the best thing that has happened to America in the last 100 years. Truly, he is the savior of America 's future. He is the best thing ever.
Despite the fact that he has some of the lowest approval ratings among recent presidents, history will see Barack Obama as the source of America 's resurrection. Barack Obama has plunged the country into levels of debt that we could not have previously imagined; his efforts to nationalize health care have been met with fierce resistance nationwide; TARP bailouts and stimulus spending have shown little positive effect on the national economy; unemployment is unacceptably high and looks to remain that way for most of a decade; legacy entitlement programs have ballooned to unsustainable levels, and there is a seething anger in the populace.
That's why Barack Obama is such a good thing for America .
Obama is the symbol of a creeping liberalism that has infected our society like a cancer for the last 100 years. Just as Hitler is the face of fascism, Obama will go down in history as the face of unchecked liberalism. The cancer metastasized to the point where it could no longer be ignored.
Average Americans who have quietly gone about their lives, earning a paycheck, contributing to their favorite charities, going to high school football games on Friday night, spending their weekends at the beach or on hunting trips - they've gotten off the fence. They've woken up. There is a level of political activism in this country that we haven't seen since the American Revolution, and Barack Obama has been the catalyst that has sparked a restructuring of the American political and social consciousness.
Think of the crap we've slowly learned to tolerate over the past 50 years as liberalism sought to re-structure the America that was the symbol of freedom and liberty to all the people of the world. Immigration laws were ignored on the basis of compassion. Welfare policies encouraged irresponsibility, the fracturing of families, and a cycle of generations of dependency. Debt was regarded as a tonic to lubricate the economy. Our children left school having been taught that they are exceptional and special, while great numbers of them cannot perform basic functions of mathematics and literacy. Legislators decided that people could not be trusted to defend their own homes, and stripped citizens of their rights to own firearms. Productive members of society have been penalized with a heavy burden of taxes in order to support legions of do-nothings who loll around, reveling in their addictions, obesity, indolence, ignorance and "disabilities." Criminals have been arrested and re-arrested
, coddled and set free to pillage the citizenry yet again. Lawyers routinely extort fortunes from doctors, contractors and business people with dubious torts.
We slowly learned to tolerate these outrages, shaking our heads in disbelief, and we went on with our lives.
But Barack Obama has ripped the lid off a seething cauldron of dissatisfaction and unrest.
A former Communist is given a paid government position in the White House as an advisor to the president. Auto companies are taken over by the government, and the auto workers' union - whose contracts are completely insupportable in any economic sense - is rewarded with a stake in the company. Government bails out Wall Street investment bankers and insurance companies, who pay their executives outrageous bonuses as thanks for the public support. Terrorists are read their Miranda rights and given free lawyers. And, despite overwhelming public disapproval, Barack Obama has pushed forward with a health care plan that would re-structure one-sixth of the American economy.
Literally millions of Americans have had enough. They're organizing, they're studying the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, they're reading history and case law, they're showing up at rallies and meetings, and a slew of conservative candidates are throwing their hats into the ring. Is there a revolution brewing? Yes, in the sense that there is a keen awareness that our priorities and sensibilities must be radically re-structured. Will it be a violent revolution? No. It will be done through the interpretation of the original document that has guided us for 220 years - the Constitution. Just as the pendulum swung to embrace political correctness and liberalism, there will be a backlash, a complete repudiation of a hundred years of nonsense. A hundred years from now, history will perceive the year 2010 as the time when America got back on the right track. And for that, we can thank Barack Hussein Obama.

Gary Hubbell is a hunter, rancher, and former hunting and fly-fishing guide. Gary works as aColorado ranch real estate broker. He can be reached through his website, aspenranchrealestate.com<http://aspenranchrealestate.com/>
Jul 28, 2010 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered Commentertexasdar
A hundred years from now, history will perceive the year 2010 as the time when America got back on the right track. And for that, we can thank Barack Hussein Obama.

God, please let this be true. The American People are waiting on your word of proof, it will come to pass. OK, Its late, ! & gotta go to bed. But my feelings are the same. Save Our People, from our goverment................?
Jul 28, 2010 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered Commentertexasdar
Thanks for the update, Texas Dar. I hope you're right -- and I've thought the same thing myself. Back when he was elected, I remember telling my wife that maybe, just maybe, Obama will be so freakin' awful it will turn the tide. I really hope that's the case.
Jul 28, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
What will it take for the American Sheeple to finally WAKE UP?

Well since you're asking, I'm tellin': it would probably take literally sneaking into each and every one of their houses at night while they sleep, gently crawling into bed with them and then sticking a fucking HUGE CARROT into their rectal cavity.

THAT *might* get their attention.
Jul 29, 2010 at 4:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterRecoverylessRecovery
The problem is our present electoral system. Almost every candidate Democrat, Republican, Independent or Tea Party who makes it to the primary has already sold his soul. If elected, their allegiance is not to the American people but to whatever special interests have contributed to their campaign fund or are promising them employment after their government service or other perks we will never be allowed to find out about.

When watching debates in the House or Senate I find it amazing how often Senators and Representatives use verbal camouflage to present a Bill or Amendment as a real benefit or disaster for the people when in reality they are lying through their teeth. A quick check with sites that show where the money is coming from, and how much is coming, show the only real benefit will be to the campaign donors. If they want the bill passed or defeated, so it will be. I believe that partisan conflict in the House and Senate is more camouflage than real disagreement as both parties serve the same masters but go to great effort to try not to make it obvious.

In the last 47 years there have been very few people in the Federal Government who have truly represented the American Majority. There have been a few but they are far outnumbered by the corrupt majority. Today the country is mired in a recession that can be traced directly to corruption in Government and the big bank business practices. With special emphasis placed on the last 20 years or so, Wall Street with a lot of help from the Federal Reserve and deregulation by the sitting administrations, plus corruption in the regulatory agencies themselves has created a situation that could end with the destruction of the American Middle Class.

Main Stream Media has played a big part in these issues. I personally have given up on any of the major outlets of reporting on issues without expressing corporate or government bias that makes what they tell you more confusing then informative. I get most of the information I believe from the Internet and occasionally from other public sources.

It does appear now that the Govt. is pushing to get control of the net, if that happens get ready to be buried in govt. propaganda. Real information will be censored, diluted or denied to conform with the govt. agenda.

That present conditions are allowed to continue does not speak well for the intelligence, nor the character, moral fiber, and courage of the American Majority.

300 million people should be able to convince 545 people to uphold the U.S. Constitution and do their job to represent said 300 million, instead of allowing them to bend over backwards or get on their knees to be of service to the elite as is happening at the present time.

AMERICA NEEDS TO WAKE UP and realize those 545 people in D.C. don't really give a damn about 20% unemployment. They'll claim it's only 9% and getting better all the time. And of course the MSM will back them up

THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR HEALTHCARE. They themselves and their benefactors have the best plans on the planet. As for the rest of the country let the big pharmaceutical and insurance companies write the legislation so they make plenty of money to keep the campaign donations coming in. force 30 million Americans to buy insurance or fine the hell out of them. Outlaw cheaper foreign drugs. Write the bill to cover illegals with healthcare and then have Obama, Pelosi, and Reid claim they won't be covered. And here comes the MSM proclaiming a wonderful bill is passed.

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION. With the help of a MSM blitz, they have presented what is basically a toothless stack of paper as the strongest financial reforms in 75 years. If Elizabeth Warren is not picked to head the CFPB I give it 3 years before Wall Street owns it.

IMMIGRATION REFORM. They refuse to enforce existing laws to keep cheap labor coming across the border. If a state tries to enforce existing laws they spend tax dollars filing suit on said state and ignore the fact that the American Majority want the borders secured and the illegal problem settled. I think this one is going to come back and bite the Federal Govt. on the butt in a big way. Filing suit against individual states for enforcing existing federal laws is going to piss off a lot of people who are fed up with the government apathy about the illegal immigrant problem and it's refusal to enforce existing laws. Obama's attempt to gain the latino vote may cost him and the Democrats a much larger group of voters in November and I for one hope it does. I saw MSM interviewing an illegal and they asked if he had ever had an American work in the fields where he has worked, he said no. They never asked where he lived or how he got to work or how much he was being paid. I would bet a lot of money he wasn't making anywhere near minimum wage and never had made minimum wage. If that had come up it might show that Americans expect a living wage to be in those fields.

Jul 29, 2010 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSagebrush
Real information will be censored, diluted or denied to conform with the govt. agenda.
"SageBrush"............its just around the corner too. Closer than we think. WAY To Many of us now know the truth as to whats realy going on.

When NoBama, puls the plug on us, we'll be back in "Black-&-White TV"......No way to know whats going on. &

If Elizabeth Warren is not picked to head the CFPB I give it 3 years before Wall Street owns it.
Aint no "Freeeeeekin-Way" they would let her in and clean house.

Ron Paul has been trying for 20 years now to clean up Washington, and they shoot him down every time. EW is one of my all time heros.
Jul 29, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commentertexasdar
"I would bet a lot of money he wasn't making anywhere near minimum wage and never had made minimum wage. If that had come up it might show that Americans expect a living wage to be in those fields."

I did not mean to imply that the ridiculous Federal Minimum Wage is a living wage. It is not and never has been a living wage.
Jul 30, 2010 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSagebrush

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