WASHINGTON Aug 21 A Republican lawmaker slammed
the U.S. 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 securities laws.
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
The watchdog was unable to identify the sources of the
"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
Hensarling, who did not mention Reuters by name in the
letter, criticized both the initial disclosures and the leak of
the watchdog's report.
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
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 information.
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
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 are considering.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Karey Van Hall,