Watchdog sues SEC in push for FOIA documents

The SEC acknowledged it received the request in a letter, but the complaint states that CREW has not received a single document from the agency, or provided a date by which it plans to meet that request.

Under law, government agencies must acknowledge receipt of a FOIA request within 20 days; fulfilling those requests can typically take months, if not years. Lawsuits are often filed in an effort to speed up the process.

The suit is the second CREW has filed against the SEC in recent weeks. On Sept. 27, the group sued the agency and its chairman, Mary Schapiro, for destroying documents tied to preliminary investigations. The watchdog charged the SEC repeatedly violated the Federal Records Act by routinely destroying documents tied to early queries that did not develop into full-blown investigations.

The National Archives and Records Administration chastised the SEC in August, saying it did not have the authority to destroy the documents. The SEC says it has since stopped the practice, but defended its prior use, arguing that records of those examinations were kept, if not every document tied to them.