Transparency for Thee, But Not for Me

The government is the first organization, given its unique powers to use force against citizens, that should be subject to surveillance and transparency.  Unfortunately, since it is the government itself that sets the rules, it is usually the last.  Following in the tradition of a Congress that exempts itself form most of its workplace regulation, comes the new financial bill which apparently exempts the SEC from most public scrutiny

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."

Apparently the children of the sixties, who once pushed for the Freedom of Information Act as a check to those in power, now are rolling it back once they are in power themselves.

  • Dave
  • Henry Bowman

    Apparently the children of the sixties, who once pushed for the Freedom of Information Act as a check to those in power, now are rolling it back once they are in power themselves.

    You are correct, of course, but what do we expect of these folks? After all, the current Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, blatantly lied to the Senate,, and was still confirmed easily. Helicopter Ben fights any real attempt to get the Fed to show its books as though doing so will mean the end of [what's left of] the republic. Why do Senators vote for a fellow such as Geithner? Probably because they realize that, were they in his shoes, they would have done the same thing.

    Corruption is running very deep.

  • Rick Caird

    Henry and don;t forget the Senate is about to confirm Kagin to the Supreme Court. Kagin altered a report from ACOG and reported, in a court brief, the alteration basically lying to the court, She also ignored the plain meaning of the law and refused to allow military recruiters on the Harvard Law School campus. the reward for that was not a disciplinary hearing before the bar, but rather a nomination hearing to the Supreme Court. I am not sure any more what disqualifying factors there are as long as you are not an avowed communist like Van Jones.

  • txgolfer

    I do not like these assclowns. Never have, even back in the 70's when we were all going to freeze. Wherever they have a position of influence, they all need to be defeated. And we take our country back from their poisoned mentality.

  • Noumenon

    It's posts like this where you're right and raise an underappreciated important issue that I never comment on, only commenting when I disagree. But these are the ones that make me read you in the first place.

  • IgotBupkis

    I would argue that a very large part of all of our problems comes from the capacity of the government to self-exempt from even the most basic common-sense rules for doing business and proper functioning (think GAAP).

    For the most part, unless it is given a special exemption from the people (example: Capital Punishment) or specifically granted a power in the founding documents, the Fed, state, and local governments ought to be held to the same strictures as everyone else is held to. And the mechanism for making such exceptions should be torturous and fraught with both extreme difficulties AND always subject to a sunset clause that limits the term of the exception and requires the full re-passage process.

    Remember this, Come The Revolution, folks.