Jul 30

us-dictatorship
Change we can believe in!


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 new provision applies to information obtained through examinations or derived from that information,” said SEC spokesman John Nester. “We are expanding our examination program’s surveillance and risk assessment efforts in order to provide more sophisticated and effective Wall Street oversight. The success of these efforts depends on our ability to obtain documents and other information from brokers, investment advisers and other registrants. The new legislation makes certain that we can obtain documents from registrants for risk assessment and surveillance under similar conditions that already exist by law for our examinations. Because registrants insist on confidential treatment of their documents, this new provision also removes an opportunity for brokers, investment advisers and other registrants to refuse to cooperate with our examination document requests.”

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: 26.03 ,0.00 ,0.00%). 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.

“It is hard to imagine how the bill could be more counterproductive,” Aguirre added.

FOX Business Network sued the SEC in March 2009 over its failure to produce documents related to its failed investigations into alleged investment frauds being perpetrated by Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. Following the Madoff and Stanford arrests it, was revealed that the SEC conducted investigations into both men prior to their arrests but failed to uncover their alleged frauds.

FOX Business made its initial request to the SEC in February 2009 seeking any information related to the agency’s response to complaints, tips and inquiries or any potential violations of the securities law or wrongdoing by Stanford.

FOX Business has also filed lawsuits against the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve over their failure to respond to FOIA requests regarding use of the bailout funds and the Fed’s extended loan facilities. In February, the Federal Court in New York sided with FOX Business and ordered the Treasury to comply with its requests.

Last year, the network won a legal victory to force the release of documents related to New York University’s lawsuit against Madoff feeder Ezra Merkin.

FOX Business’ FOIA requests have so far led the SEC to release several important and damaging documents:

  • FOX Business used the FOIA to obtain a 2005 survey that the SEC in Fort Worth was sending to Stanford investors. The survey showed that the SEC had suspicions about Stanford several years prior to the collapse of his $7 billion empire.
  • FOX Business used the FOIA to obtain copies of emails between Federal Reserve lawyers, AIG and staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in which it was revealed the Fed staffers knew that bailing out AIG would result in bonuses being paid.

Recently, TARP Congressional Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren told FOX Business that the network’s Freedom of Information Act efforts played a “very important part” of the panel’s investigation into AIG.

Warren told the network the government “crossed a line” with the AIG bailout.

“FOX News and the congressional oversight panel has pushed, pushed, pushed, for transparency, give us the documents, let us look at everything. Your Freedom of Information Act suit, which ultimately produced 250,000 pages of documentation, was a very important part of our report. We were able to rely on the documents that you pried out for a significant part of our being able to put this report together,” Warren said.

The SEC first made its intention to block further FOIA requests known on Tuesday. FOX Business was preparing for another round of “skirmishes” with the SEC, according to Mintz, when the agency called and said it intended to use Section 929I of the 2000-page legislation to refuse FBN’s ongoing requests for information.

Mintz said the network will challenge the SEC’s interpretation of the law.

“I believe this is subject to challenge,” he said. “The contours will have to be figured out by a court.”

SEC Financial Regulatory Law H.R. 4173

By Dunstan Prial
Published July 28, 2010

Source: FOX BUSINESS

Change we can believe in:

- Nancy Pelosi Blocks Gulf Disaster Investigation

- And Now ObamaService? H.R. 5741: Universal National Service Act

- Obama Bankster Bill Lets Banks Have US Over A Barrel Again

- Obamacare: Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law

- GLOBE MAGAZINE: OBAMA BORN IN AFRICA! WHY HIS PRESIDENCY IS ILLEGAL

- Rep. Michele Bachmann: Obama Is Making The US ‘A Nation Of Slaves’

- General James Mattis who said it was ‘fun to shoot people’ takes over US Central Command

- EU gives US access to its citizens’ private financial data

- Obama Administration To Sue Arizona Over Immigration Law

- Dylan Ratigan Show: President Obama ‘Has A Hit List Of American Citizens Like YOU targeted For Assassination’

- Third US carrier, 4,000 Marines augment US armada opposite Iran

- Now truth is bad for you: ‘Obama warns Erdogan international Gaza flotilla probe bad for Turkey’

- Obama Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Approved By Senate Committee

- Americans buying their own health insurance face an average 20 percent increase in premiums

- Big Brother DHS And DOD Want To Open US Skies To Spy Drones

- President Obama Has Already Outdone Every Previous President In Prosecuting Whistleblowers

- US government debt to rise to $19.6 trillion by 2015

- Left-Wing Icon Daniel Ellsberg: ‘Obama Deceives the Public’

- US: $13 Trillion Debt Poised to Overtake GDP (Chart of Day)

- 10 US States Where An Absurd Percentage Of The Population Works For The Government

- US ’secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces are deployed in 75 countries

- Paul Craig Roberts: A Plague Upon The World: The USA is a “Failed State”

- President Obama’s New World Order: ‘We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation’

- President Obama Wins The Right to Detain People With No Habeas Review

- US government can execute its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence!

- US posts 19th straight monthly budget deficit; April deficit nearly four times higher than in 2009

- Hyperfast missile to strike anywhere on Earth within an hour wins President Obama’s support

- President Obama Repaying His Masters At Goldman Sachs

- Marriage Penalties Increase Dramatically Under ObamaCare

- The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente on ObamaCare, Dollar Devaluation And Gold

- Peter Schiff on ObamaCare

- Rep. Ron Paul: President Obama Is ‘Not A Socialist.’ ‘He Is A Corporatist.’

- Dylan Ratigan Show With Alan Grayson: The Great Con Job By The Fed, The Government And The Banksters

- Michelle Obama says Barack’s Home country is Kenya – full statement

- Obama Administration Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

- Judge Napolitano on Obama’s Private Army

- Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Lobbyist of CropLife America Whose Members Include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont and Dow Chemical

- Obama Gives ‘Pesticide Lobbyist’ Post as Chief Agricultural Negotiator

- It’s Official: America Now Enforces Capital Controls

- Rep. Ron Paul: Healthcare Will Drive US To Bankruptcy

- Gerald Celente: This time they will close the Banks & Wall Street (03/27/10)

- John Pilger: Have a Nice World War III, Folks

- Ron Paul on MSNBC’s Morning Joe: We have only one party in America and all they fight over is power and influence

- The War on WikiLeaks … and Why It Matters

- White House Press Corps longest-serving member Helen Thomas on her one question for Obama

- Obamacare: 12 Taxes Violate Obama’s Pledge Not to Increase Taxes on Households Earning Less than $250,000

- Obama exempt from Obamacare

- Joe Biden to Barack Obama: ‘Mr. President, This Is A Big F****** Deal’

- Rep. Ron Paul: Healthcare Bill is ‘Blatantly Unconstitutional And Contrary to The Ideals of Liberty’

- US: THE Most Important Chart of the CENTURY

- Health Care Bill ‘Dangerously Expands IRS’s Power’

- US Government Preparing For Civil Unrest In America

- Obamacare Tax Hikes

- Record: National Debt Up $2 Trillion in Just 421 Days on Obama’s Watch

- Obama agencies invoking secrecy provision more often than under Bush

- US budget deficit hits record $221bn, the largest monthly deficit in history

- Michael Moore: ‘Democrats are a bunch of wusses … It’s disgusting … I’m sick of them’

- President Obama signs one-year extension of Patriot Act

- Cybersecurity Bill To Give President Obama New Emergency Powers

- Obama Administration Using Accounting Gimmicks That Would Make Enron ‘Blush,’ Says Republican Lawmaker

- Judge Napolitano and Angela Keaton on Freedom Watch: Obama’s Bush Foreign Policy

- Obama Signs Law Raising Public Debt Limit from $12.4 Trillion to $14.3 Trillion

- Cynthia McKinney at Munich Germany NATO Peace Rally: ‘My Country Has Been Hijacked By A Criminal Cabal’

- President Obama’s Pledge Never to Raise Taxes on Anyone Making Less Than $250,000 a Year

- Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘20 Percent Of Our Accumulated Wealth Over The Course Of 2 Centuries Gone in 18 months!’

- Paul Craig Roberts: It Is Now Official: The U.S. Is A Police State

- Prof. Russell Roberts Testifies Before House Committee: ‘I Want My Country Back!’

- Director of National Intelligence Says US May Kill Americans Abroad

- President Obama Ups Pakistan Drone Strikes in Assassination Campaign

- The New Vision of the Obama Administration: War Without End

- Pentagon’s New Record Black Budget Tops $56 Billion

- MSNBC Exposes President Obama’s lies: FED GAVE Banks Access to 23.7 TRILLION DOLLARS NOT $700 Billion!

- Rep. Ron Paul on Obama seeking to assassinate ‘US citizens’ he labels as terrorist

- White House to Paint Grim Fiscal Picture: Another Record Budget Deficit

- US: GDP Mirage – The Last Hurrah

- Marc Faber: Obama Makes Bush Look Like a Genius

- Obamanomics: Why Did the ‘Stimulus’ Fail to Help the US Economy?

- Paul Craig Roberts: How Wall Street Destroyed Health Care – Greed, Be Thou My God

- President Obama to indefinitely imprison detainees without charges

- Ron Paul: US Foreign Policy is Bankrupting America

- Rep. Ron Paul: State of the Republic Address – ‘Dangerous Times Indeed.’

- America’s Impending Master Class Dictatorship! (MUST-READ!)

- The CFR Controls American News/Media

- Senate Proposes Increasing US Debt Limit to $14.3 Trillion: “If Congress does not enact this legislation, and soon, then the Treasury would default on its debt for the first time in history,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus

- US: Unfunded Benefits Dig States’ $3 Trillion Hole

- Illinois enters a state of insolvency: ‘We’re close to de facto bankruptcy, if not de jure bankruptcy.’

- The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: Financial Mafia Controlling US and Wall Street

- Peter Schiff: The Lunacy of US Government Programs

- Former Dean of Harvard College Harry R. Lewis: Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow Elite Bankrupt The University And The Country?

- Experts: Dollar Crisis Looms if US Doesn’t Curb Debt

- Marc Faber on Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis: Next Countries to Default are the US, Japan and the ‘PIIGS’

- Nobel Peace Laureate Obama seeks additional $33 billion for wars, on top of a record request for $708 billion for the Defense Department

- Fitch: US Must Cut Spending To Save AAA Rating; US December Deficit Nearly Doubles

- The Coming Sovereign Debt Crisis

- US slides deeper into depression as Wall Street revels

- PIMCO’S Bill Gross: ‘Let’s Get Fisical’ (… or why the US will not make it.)

- Barack Obama’s Health Care Lies And Reversals

- US sheds 85,000 jobs in December; Record 40% Of Unemployed Without Job For 27+ Weeks

- Peter Schiff on Fast Money: ‘America is broke’; ‘The Fed created a currency crisis’; ‘Dollar to collapse 50-70% or more’

- US: Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Deficit

- U.S. Avoids Technical Default By Three Days

- As an American, I refuse to buy mandatory health insurance … that supports Big Pharma

- The US Government Is Preparing For Collapse: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied

- Prof. Dr. David Michael Green: Now I’m Really Getting Pissed Off … With Obama

- US Treasuries Post Worst Performance Among Sovereign Markets In 2009

- US losses will top $400 billion on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

- US: More Ammo For The Treasury Bazooka

- US government wants farmers to use coal waste on fields

- The No.1 Trend Forecaster Gerald Celente: The Terror And The Crash of 2010

- We’re Screwed! Hyperinflation like in the Weimar Republic; Great Depression worse than in the 1930s

- US Congress: Banksters Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank

Traitor in chief:
Treason: Obama gives INTERPOL immunity from the Constitution (Amending Executive Order 12425)

- Peter Schiff on Obamacare, Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae: The Nightmare Before Christmas

- Obama administration backs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac no matter how big their losses may be

- Rep. Dennis Kucinich: US War Presidents ignore Congress and Constitution

- Obamacare: Big payoffs to senators on health bill stoke public anger

- US: Trillions Of Troubles Ahead

- Chinese central banker Zhu Min: ‘The world does not have so much money to buy more US Treasuries.’

- Obamacare: Change Nobody Believes In

- Obama’s surge comes at a cost: At least $57,077.60 per minute

- US National Debt Tops Debt Limit

Hypocrite in Chief (Funny):
President Obama: Another Busy Day in The Oval Office!

- Fascism in America: By Political Definition The US Is Now Fascist, Not A Constitutional Republic

- John Williams of Shadowstats: Prepare For The Hyperinflationary Great Depression

Liar in Chief (NOT funny!!!):
Barack Obama Lies 7 Times In Under 2 Minutes!!!!!

- Robert Fisk, The Independent’s award-winning Middle East correspondent: Obama is a Disaster, Worse than Bush

- Rep. Dennis Kucinich: ‘These Wars Are Corrupting The Heart Of Our Nation!’

- Famous Investor Jim Rogers: Incompetence In Washington, Abolish The Fed And The Treasury

- Rep. Dennis Kucinich: The Truth About Afghanistan

- Obama’s Big Sellout (Rolling Stone Magazine)

- Obama administration to lift debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion

- Climategate: President Obama’s rule by EPA decree is a coup d’etat against Congress, made in Britain

- Obama administration tells Pakistan: Tackle Taliban or we will

- MSNBC Rachel Maddow: War President Obama

- Ron Paul: ‘Obama is Actually Preparing Us For Perpetual War’

Afghanistan Surge to Cost At Least $40 Billion, That Is $1.333.333 For One US Soldier Per Year

- Rep. Brad Sherman: Geithner rejects $1 trillion limit on bailout power (Section 1204 is unlimited in dollar amount!)

Liar in Chief (Over 300 soldiers died in 2009 because of this lie!!!):
Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’

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