A new veil of secrecy at the SEC?

Lawyers for the agency apparently are arguing that a barely-noticed portion of the new financial reform act–signed last week by President Obama–exempt it from virtually all requests for public records under the Freedom of Information Act. Fox Business Network said in an article today that it had sued the SEC in 2009 seeking access to records of the agency’s failed investigations into Bernie Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. The SEC had turned down its initial FOIA requests. Fox Business Network said the agency has indicated that it will block further requests by invoking the new law, which says it can withhold records from the public pertaining to “surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities.”

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