August 3, 2004

August E-Minders is Up! We

We have posted the August E-Minders. Check it out!

SEC Enforcement Actions Down

An article in yesterday’s L.A. Times reported that actions brought by the Division of Enforcement are down in the current year (which ends Sept. 30). In the nine months ending June 30, the SEC brought 378 enforcement actions against companies and individuals, compared to 443 enforcement actions in the prior year.

Some experts speculate that the decrease is a result of a change in enforcement strategies and an increase in complex cases, rather than a decrease in corporate fraud. There are select areas, however, where SEC enforcement numbers are rising: freezing assets, suspending trades and officer & director bars.

Pitt’s (non) FOIAble Records

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last week that certain records of former Chairman Harvey Pitt are not required by FOIA to be turned over to the media. The ruling encompasses Pitt’s notes on meetings with Wall Street and accounting executives as well as telephone logs and appointment calendars. Bloomberg had made several requests for information during Pitt’s tenure, but the SEC claimed most of the records were not “agency records” subject to the FOIA.

The court also upheld the SEC’s denial of Bloomberg’s request for documents on a November 2001 meeting on conflicts on Wall Street. Bloomberg sought notes taken by the Staff at the meeting with officials from the NYSE, NASD and several brokerage firms. The court agreed with the SEC’s denial, saying that regulators would be hampered if participants didn’t feel free to talk openly at such meetings, or if the thoughts and recommendations of the Staff were “exposed” before a final decision on a policy matter.

-Posted by Julie Hoffman