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SEC OIG - Review of SEC Compliance with FOIA (Sept. 25, 2009)

SEC OIG - Review of SEC Compliance with FOIA (Sept. 25, 2009)

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Published by: J Cox on Nov 19, 2009
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05/25/2012

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Review of the SEC’s Compliancewith the Freedom of InformationAct
September 25, 2009Report No. 465
 
Prepared by: Elizabeth A. Bunker, Contractor
 
O
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I
CE
0".
IN
S
PECTO
FI
G
ENER
AL
To:
From:
Subject:
UNITED
STATES
SECURITIES
AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON
,
D.C.
20549
MEMORANDUM
September 25,2009Mary
L.
Schapiro,ChairmanDavid M.Becker,General Counsel,Office oftheGeneral Counsel MaryS.Head,Director,Office
of
Investor Education andAdvocacyH.David Katz,InspectorGeneral,Office
of
InspectorGeneral
( O l
~~
Review
of
theSecurities
and
ExchangeCommission's Compliance withthe Freedom
of
Information Act,
Report No.465
This memorandum
transmits
the
U.S.
Securities
and
Exchange
Commission
,
OIG'sfinal report detailing the results
of
the review
of
theCommission'sFOIAfunction.The review wasconductedby the OIGaspart
of
theOIG's continuous
efforts
to
assess
management
of
the
Commission
's
programs
and
operations
andwas
based
on
our audit
plan
.
This reportcontains10 recommendations thatweredeveloped tostrengthenthe Commission'sFOIA function and processes.TheOffice
of
theChairmanconcurred with 8recommendationsthat weredirected to its office.The Office
of
the Chairman partiallyconcurred withrecommendation no.
3.
Whilethis
recommendationwas
directed
to
the
Chairman
's
office
,
it
wasresponded
to
by
theOffice
of
General Counsel.TheOffice
of
GeneralCounsel alsopartially
concurred
with
recommendation
no.
5
which
pertained
to
its
office
.
Based
on
the
written
comments
that
were
receivedand
our
assessment
of
the
comments,
we
revised the reportaccordingly.Withinthenext45 days,pleaseprovideOIG with awrittencorrectiveaction plan that is designed to address theagreedupon recommendations.Thecorrective actionplanshouldinclude infomnationsuch astheresponsible official/point
of
contact,time frames forcompletingthe required actions,milestone dates identifying howyou will addressthe recommendationscited
in
this report,etc. Should youhaveanyquestions regarding this report,please do not hesitate to
contact
me.
We
appreciate
the
courtesy
and
cooperation
that
you
and
your
staff
extendedtoour contractor. Attachmentcc: KaylaJ.Gillan,DeputyChief
of
Staff,Office
of
theChairmanDiego Ruiz,Executive Director,Office
of
the Executive DirectorJayne
L.
Seidman,Chief FOIAOfficer,Office
of
the Executive Director
Re
v
iew
of
the
SEC's
Co
mplian
ce
with
FO
IA
September
2
5,
2009Repo
rt
No
.465
Page i
,.
,
I
I
I.
 
Review of the Securities and ExchangeCommission’s Compliance with theFreedom of Information Act
 
Executive Summary
Background:
 
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA or Act), was enacted in1966. It was amended in 1974, 1976, 1986, and most recently, in 2007 to narrowthe scope of FOIA exemptions and the ability of agencies to withhold information.The Act provides that any person has a right to access federal agency records,with certain exceptions, that address issues such as national security andpersonal rights. Pursuant to the Act, the right of access is enforceable in court.Agencies are required under the Act to respond to FOIA requests within 20-working days and to notify requesters of their right to appeal a response thatdenies the request to access records. In a Memorandum to the Heads ofExecutive Departments and Agencies, issued January 21, 2009, PresidentObama directed FOIA to be administered with a “presumption in favor ofdisclosure,” which emphasizes the importance of transparency and openness ingovernment.Executive Order 13392 “Improving Agency Disclosure of Information” was issuedon December 14, 2005 (Executive Order 13392), and directs federal agencies tobecome more “citizen-centered and results-oriented” in responding to FOIArequests. Additionally, pursuant to the Executive Order federal agencies providethe public with information on their FOIA requests, designate liaisons to interactwith the public, and appoint senior-level Chief FOIA Officers to oversee the FOIAprocess. Executive Order 13392 was followed by the Openness PromotesEffectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007 (OPEN Government Act),which affirmed the requirements of the Executive Order, further limitedextensions to a 20-day time period, and added a new “Office of GovernmentInformation Services.”At the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission), theOffice of Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Operations (FOIA/PAOffice) processes FOIA requests. The FOIA/PA Office receives the initial FOIArequests from the public and then identifies the appropriate Commission office ordivision that has the capability to address the FOIA request. The FOIA/PA Officecoordinates record searches with the relevant Commission offices/divisions toprovide a consolidated response to a requester. The Office of General Counsel(OGC) reviews and makes all Commission FOIA appeal determinations.
Review of the SEC’s Compliance with FOIA September 25, 2009Report No. 465
Page ii

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