09.21.10

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Senate Passage Of Bill To Repeal SEC FOIA Exemptions

[The Senate Tuesday night unanimously adopted S. 3717, legislation to repeal exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that were enacted in the Wall Street reform bill.  The legislation is authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and cosponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Ted Kaufman (D-Del.).  The legislation was unanimously approved on Sept. 16 by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs.]

“The Freedom of Information Act has long recognized the need to balance the Government’s legitimate interest in protecting confidential business records, trade secrets and other sensitive information from public disclosure, and preserving the public’s right to know.   To accomplish this, care must always be taken to ensure that exemptions to FOIA’s disclosure requirements are narrowly and properly applied.

“I supported the historic Wall Street reform law, because that law takes significant strides toward enhancing transparency and accountability in our financial system. When Congress enacted the FOIA exemptions in Section 929I, we sought to ensure that the SEC had access to the information that the Commission needed to protect American investors – not to shield information from the public.   In passing this legislation, the Senate has taken yet another step to truly restore stability and accountability to our financial system.  I urge the House of Representatives to enact this good government bill without delay.”

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