On September 23, the House of Representatives voted to pass S. 3717, a bill to amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to provide for certain disclosures under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act).
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the public to petition for access to government documents and the amended laws were attempting to provide the Security and Exchange Commission unwarranted exemptions. FOIA was created to protect classified government information while at the same time providing the public with a way to access that information that is not classified.
The bill passed in unchanged in both the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the President’s signature.
This is an important step to ensure that the Freedom of Information Act and the public’s right to know are not impeded. As Sen. Leahy said, “The Freedom of Information Act has long recognized the need to balance the government’s legitimate interest in protecting confidential business records, trade secrets, and other sensitive information from public disclosure, and preserving the public’s right to know. To accomplish this, care must always be taken to ensure that exemptions to FOIA’s disclosure requirements are narrowly and properly applied. The bill accomplishes this important goal.”