Suspense and Intrigue Surround Closed SEC Meeting

The SEC Office of Inspector General has released a redacted version of an investigation regarding a leak of Commissioner Piwowar’s vote during an executive session of a closed Commission meeting regarding an enforcement matter.  It’s not very flattering.   Chair White and Commissioner Gallagher recused themselves from the executive session so I surmise the leak was not from them.  Ultimately, the OIG could not identify the source of the leak.

One SEC Commissioner called reporters at Reuters, which published the leaked information, four times after the meeting, once within 35 minutes after the conclusion of the executive session.  Reg FD is a good thing when it doesn’t apply to you.  Three of the calls didn’t result in a connection, but one lasted 26 minutes.  The OIG report indicates the Commissioner stated with “pretty high certainty . . . at least 99.99% sure” that he did not talk to Reuters’ reporters about the vote at issue.

In response to a question from a Reuters’ reporter about why  Commissioner Piwowar voted against the SEC settlement, an SEC staffer said “I don’t know. I don’t think it’s fair.  Go figure it out.”  Apparently the staffer believes he or she had not confirmed anything because the reporter already knew the vote count.

There was also a lot of confusion about whether proper procedures were followed and whether the room was cleared when the executive session was held.  At least one Commissioner believes Chair White’s rules are not valid.  In any event, some believe you can just stand outside the door and hear what is going on.

The report also notes that one SEC Commissioner improperly forwarded SEC confidential information to his home email address because otherwise he can’t print it.   A staffer apparently used his home email to communicate information about SEC matters to reporters.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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