WASHINGTON – Empower Oversight filed a notice informing the Court of its new request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) related to the ongoing lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding potential conflicts of interest surrounding cryptocurrency enforcement decisions. The notice explains that the new request is an effort to require the SEC to conduct searches necessary to locate records sought under the plain terms of its original FOIA request in August 2021 and consistent with Empower Oversight’s January 2022 agreement to accommodate the SEC’s request for more specific and narrow search terms.
Empower Oversight explained in its opposition to the SEC’s motion for summary judgment that the underlying FOIA covers all records of communications involving three high-level SEC officials and “all personnel” of Simpson Thatcher, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and One River Asset Management, not just email communications to/from the domains @stblaw.com, @entethalliance.org, and @oneriveram.com. Following the January 28th phone call, Empower Oversight provided a list of names the SEC had requested of select Simpson Thatcher, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and One River Asset Management personnel so the SEC could complete the records search required by the plain terms of Empower Oversight’s request. The SEC, however, had misconstrued the FOIA request, and conceded that it refused to search for the names forwarded by Empower Oversight.
Empower Oversight’s notice to the court explains that the purpose of the new FOIA request is to “conclusively remove any ambiguity about SEC’s already existing obligation under FOIA to conduct searches using those names.”
According to the notice, “In short, the SEC asked for a list of names to narrow its searches and Empower Oversight provided that list. Yet the SEC refused to do the searches. Now, in this litigation, the SEC urges this Court to ignore its refusal[.]”
“It’s time for the SEC to stop playing games,” said Jason Foster, President and Founder of Empower Oversight. “When Empower Oversight agreed to narrow its request by providing a specific list of names to search, the SEC refused to take ‘yes’ for an answer—but now there is no avoiding its obligation to do the searches pursuant to this new FOIA request.”
If you have first-hand information you’d like to disclose to assist Empower Oversight with these inquiries, please contact us confidentially here.