Section 929I of the Dodd-Frank Act which provides an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act in certain circumstances has sparked a great deal of controversy. The controversy in part was sparked when SEC Chairman Mary Shapiro sent a letter to Barney Frank outlining what many thought was an overly expansive interpretation of Section 929I. Certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and others, have introduced bills that would modify the exemption.
While the debate has focused on Section 929I, it appears that Section 404 of the Dodd-Frank Act which also provides a FOIA exemption, has not attracted a great deal of attention. Section 404 provides mechanisms for the SEC to collect information and reports from investment advisers (which post Dodd-Frank, can now include advisers to hedge funds and private equity groups). Section 404 provides in part as follows:
“The Commission, the Council, and any other department, agency, or self-regulatory organization that receives information, reports, documents, records, or information from the Commission under this subsection, shall be exempt from the provisions of section 552 of title 5, United States Code, with respect to any such report, document, record, or information.”
It will be interesting to see how the debate plays out.