SEC Responds to Our FOIA Request Saying We’ll Have To Wait Three Years and Pay $150,000: Its Response Fails the Laugh Test and The Smell Test at the Same Time

We recently made a standard FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to gain access to the SEC’s files on the $2,200 Man. We expected a dismissive bureaucratic response,  but what we got actually floored us. It included the following:

We have identified approximately 309 boxes that contain records which may be responsive to your requests. We typically estimate that it will take approximately 4 hours to review the contents of 1 box of records (approximately 3,000 pages) for
responsiveness and releasability under the FOIA. However, it could take up to 8 hours per box depending on the subject matter. Therefore, our preliminary estimate at this point to review the approximately 309 boxes of records is anywhere from 1,236 to 2,472 hours, which equates to a cost between $75,396.00 and $150,792.00….

… At present we anticipate that it may take thirty-six months or more before we can begin to process a request placed in our FIFO track.

In other words, not only will you have to wait three years and pay $150,000 before the SEC will start handling your request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but we also would like you to know that our investigations of you and your firm generated approximately 927,000 pages of documents.

Not only is the agency making a mockery of FOIA, a law which exists fundamentally to provide transparency regarding government investigations. But by admitting that there are 309 boxes, each containing 3,000 pages, the SEC is also admitting the staggering extent of its witch hunt. The SEC apparently spent more than three years of total investigatory work and developed nearly 1,000,000 pages of work product fishing for evidence of bad acts by the $2,200 Man. Yet despite this mountain of work, what it found was tantamount to nothing.

Given so much work and so little to show for it, why did the SEC bring charges at all?  That is really the question. My firm can never come back from the grave, but my reputation certainly can. And we won’t give up until we know.

The SEC’s response offers an unintentional admission of just how out of control this whole thing got. Its request for $150,000 isn’t merely the equivalent of two full-time salaries at the SEC, it’s almost 70 times the amount of the allegations against me, the $2,200 Man.

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Author: Eric D. Wanger

Eric has nearly 30 years of experience as a creative and entrepreneurial professional in roles ranging from general management, team leadership and project management to technical rolls in IT, software development financial services and law. He has run business units, managed teams and delivered projects for established global enterprises and as the founder of a number of startups. Over his nearly 30 years at work, his job titles have included Board Member (public, private and non-profit), President, Founder, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Research, Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager, Software Developer, Securities Analyst, Web Designer, Systems Integrator, Investment Advisor, Fundraiser, Consultant and Attorney. As a software consultant, cloud based, mobile app software as a consultant to one of the world’s leading electronic medical records companies (Cerner). As Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research for a startup financial services firm (Wanger OmniWealth, LLC), he developed a proprietary, risk-based holistic reporting platform for wealthy families and a set of allocation models based on it. He has developed automated trading systems for equity and equity ETF's. Between 2002 and 2013, Eric served as a portfolio manager of the Long Term Opportunity fund (small/micro-cap equities), the Alternative Fixed Income Fund (blend of exchange traded and privately negotiated debt) and as the strategist and founder (with Ralph Wanger) for the Income and Growth Fund (multi-asset class dividend strategy). Eric was a senior investment analyst at Barrington Research Associates (Chicago) covering technology and business services. Prior to that, Eric was a software, communications, and technology analyst for the Edgewater Funds, a private equity/venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. Before joining Edgewater funds in 2000, Eric worked in Silicon Valley providing consulting, training, and software development to early-¬stage firms. Between 1991 and 1996, Eric was a principal consultant at EDW, Ltd, a firm he founded to provide software development, training in rapid software development techniques (NeXT), and systems interoperability consulting services for large multi-vendor and distributed computer networks. EDW's clients included such companies as Fannie Mae, MCI, Swiss Bank Corp (UBS), Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Apple Computer, Stanford University, and The Acorn Funds. Eric received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and is a member of the California Bar. He was co-founder and managing editor of the Stanford Technology Law Review. Eric was awarded a National Merit Scholarship in 1981. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-¬Champaign and received a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2005. Eric lives in Chicago with his three children and a fat English Labrador retriever named Casper. He enjoys classical and jazz piano, hiking and aviation. He is an instrument rated pilot. Eric serves as a trustee for the Acorn Foundation and is active at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

One thought on “SEC Responds to Our FOIA Request Saying We’ll Have To Wait Three Years and Pay $150,000: Its Response Fails the Laugh Test and The Smell Test at the Same Time

  1. Classic example of making a mountain out of a mole hill.. Not even considering the effects of hard earned reputation over the years and sending an emerging firm to grave.. very sad.

    Like

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