lawmaker slams SEC over unauthorized leaks to media
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[August 22, 2014]
By Emily Stephenson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican
lawmaker slammed the Securities and Exchange Commission over leaks of
confidential information to media outlets, including Reuters, calling
the disclosures "unacceptable."
Representative Jeb Hensarling, who leads the House of
Representatives' Financial Services Committee, said in the letter to
SEC Chair Mary Jo White that the leaks raised questions about who
attends closed agency meetings and hurt the SEC's ability to enforce
At issue are Reuters stories from the fall of 2013 about SEC
officials' deliberations regarding a settlement with JPMorgan Chase
over its "London Whale" trading scandal. A report from the SEC's
internal watchdog about nonpublic information included in the
stories was itself later leaked to reporters in late July.
The watchdog was unable to identify the sources of the leaks.
"Leaks emanating from closed meeting deliberations jeopardize all of
the SEC's enforcement work," Hensarling said in the letter, which
was dated Aug. 18 and reviewed by Reuters on Thursday.
Hensarling, who did not mention Reuters by name in the letter,
criticized both the initial disclosures and the leak of the
He asked the agency to detail how it is implementing the watchdog's
recommendations for preventing leaks and describe efforts to
soundproof the room where closed meetings occur so that unauthorized
people cannot listen in from outside.
SEC spokesman Kevin Callahan declined to comment. Thomson Reuters
spokesman David Crundwell also declined to comment.
The leak probe began after Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources,
on Sept. 17, 2013, that the SEC had approved its portion of a
settlement with JPMorgan in a split vote taken in a closed-door
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The agency made that decision public two days later. Reuters later
published further non-public details about the vote.
The stories prompted the SEC's Office of Inspector General to launch
an extensive, months-long investigation into who had leaked the
The report said the SEC failed to remove employees during non-public
votes of the five-member commission, and people standing outside the
room where votes were held could hear the discussions inside.
Hensarling said the threat of leaks could prevent companies from
engaging in settlement discussions with the SEC or discourage
commissioners from conducting sufficient dialogue about actions they
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Karey Van Hall, Martin
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