Zach Goldfarb of the Washington Post saysthe SEC isn't nearly as exempt from FOIA as the Fox Business Network reporting states. Goldfarb says that the new provision only "exempts the SEC from disclosing records derived from 'surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities,' this only concerns documents obtained through examinations of broker-dealers and investment advisers -- periodic or targeted reviews of financial firms."
Goldfarb states that "Information from investigations into potential wrongdoing has never been obtainable through FOIA." He is wrong in this assertion. Information from OPEN investigations has been withholdable pursuant to FOIA exemption 7(A) (as it is by all federal law enforcement agencies-not just the SEC). However, once an investigation is closed, the information may be released pursuant to a FOIA request -- unless it is covered by another FOIA exemption.
It is unclear if the SEC plans to utilize its new statutory authority to protect information received from brokers, investment advisers and other individuals in closed law enforcement investigations that have to do with the SEC's job as enforcers, not regulators; the Fox Business News report made it appear that the SEC, through its attorneys in litigation, plans to do just that. More clarification from the SEC is needed.