Agency’s rapid response raises questions about use of pre-written denial letters to deflect transparency into major rule that could drive inflation higher
March 28, 2022
(Washington, DC) – Today, the Functional Government Initiative announced concerning developments in its efforts to obtain public records from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the SEC’s newly proposed Climate Disclosure Rule. In response to a standard Freedom of Information Act request seeking records relevant to the rule, the independent agency responded with lightning speed – in only a day – to deny and dismiss FGI’s request for public records. This is likely not what Attorney General Garland meant when he issued his memorandum last week imploring agencies to be more responsive to FOIA requesters.
FGI’s request was part of an expanded investigation into the government’s broadening energy and climate agenda, a key driver of inflation for most Americans. Of particular concern are the members of Congress, financial industry titans, and special interest organizations lobbying the SEC to propose a rule that would only worsen this energy crisis.
The proposed rule issued by the SEC on Monday would require public companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions as well any emissions that can be traced to their activities along the value chain. The rule was met with significant scrutiny both in terms of its legality, breadth of regulatory impact and the potential to increase the cost of consumer products across the economy. The move appears set to move America further away from energy independence and discourage public investment in oil and gas companies. The regulatory initiative stands in stark contrast to our European allies, who are reassessing their climate change policies in the face of the energy crisis and the realities of geopolitics.
Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:
“I’ve never heard of a federal agency working so fast to ‘carefully consider’ a request only to issue a blanket denial within a day. Perhaps I should be less surprised by the agency’s hypocritical approach inherent in mandating climate disclosures for the private sector but dismissing requests for disclosure of its own public records. It does make one wonder what the agency is so concerned we will find that they’ve decided to play hide and seek with these records. In the middle of an energy crisis and record inflation, which special interests were so influential as to force out such an expansive and costly rule? We intend to find out.”