Thursday, July 29, 2010

How's That Whole "Most Transparent Administration" Thing Working for You?

It has not been widely reported, but the FrankenDodd financial reform bill that just was signed into law has removed the Securities Exchange Commission - the SEC - from public scrutiny.  They say they are no longer are required to respond to Freedom of Information Act inquiries. 

This is a bad thing.

Remember Bernie Madoff ?  (a name that seems to come from the Ministry of Truth itself - I mean, come on ... a big swindler who made off with a bunch of money, named Madoff???)  The stories in the aftermath of the Madoff scandal said the SEC was alerted to him several times, but they were too stupid to do anythingMore hereAnd here (you've noticed these are all evil, right-wing news sources?)
Markopolos said the SEC is in need of a major overhaul. Senior managers should be replaced, lawyers should be separated from financial investigators, and the agency should hire employees who have years of Wall Street experience, he said.
The SEC has never been particularly well known for transparency.  As Denninger says,
Oh, by the way, this would mean that a Madoff or Stanford "thing" would leave the SEC immune from FOIA requests by the Press (including the "mainstream" along with media folks like myself) to discover whether they had effective and early notice that they intentionally ignored.
Isn't that convenient, given that they did exactly that with Madoff and, it can be argued, Stanford as well?
Indeed, the SEC, The Fed, and Treasury have all tried to refuse compliance with FOIA requests into the backstories of the financial meltdown.
There have been successful lawsuits against the Fed, in particular, with judges ordering them to release information, and they have steadfastly refused.  Quoting Denninger again:
FOIA requests that could (and in some cases have, when they were forced to be complied with via lawsuits) reveal double-dealing, "sweetheart" treatment, and even willful blindness that, in many people's opinion (including mine) reaches the level of intentional collusion that, in a private context, would lead to civil and/or criminal racketeering charges.
I got your transparency right here!

When you consider how much disdain this ruling class shows for you, me and the rule of law, how much longer until something breaks?

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.  - H L Mencken


  1. "... and begin slitting throats."

    It may require a little up close and personal
    "interaction" but, it's quiet and still get's the point across quite splendidly.


  2. To use a quote from Mr. Burns (the Simpsons - of all places) "nothing beats the personal touch of hired goons". In place of the word goons, just think special operators.