WASHINGTON - U.S. lawmakers voted Thursday to repeal a provision in their landmark Wall Street reform bill that exempted securities regulators from complying with some requests for information from the public.
The decision to roll back part of the Dodd-Frank bill comes about two months after the legislation was enacted.
Top regulator Mary Schapiro tried to assure lawmakers that the Securities and Exchange Commission would remain accountable to the public amid concerns the SEC could use the new law to hide information.
But in the end, the U.S. Congress decided to strike language allowing the SEC not to disclose the results of examinations of specific firms.
"By repealing this section, we have reaffirmed our commitment to ensure that the SEC will be held to the highest possible standard of accountability and transparency," said Republican Representative Darrell Issa.
Schapiro had argued the provision gave market players clarity that the SEC could protect their confidential proprietary information.
Other lawmakers, however, said the repeal was not a perfect solution. Democratic Representative Edolphus Towns had introduced a bill that narrowed the exemption.
His bill said the SEC could protect sensitive records obtained under its examination authority.
The Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to disclose certain information in response to a written request. Under the act, individuals can request nonpublic information such as consumer complaints and information compiled during the course of investigations from a federal agency.
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