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President Barack Obama last week signed Senate Bill 3717, removing an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act [5 U.S.C. sec. 552 et seq.] that could have enabled the Securities and Exchange Commission to withhold documents regarding much of its regulatory and oversight duties.
The measure, which took aim at sec. 9291 of the Dodd-Frank Wall St. Reform & Consumer Protection Act, affords Wall St. institutions some protection from SEC investigatory and regulatory activities under FOIA exemption 8 that shields matters "contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions," heretofore, banks, investment banks and trust companies.
Sec. 9291 was attacked by open government proponents as overbroad and potentially applicable to any SEC action or inquiry.