FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Contact: Shanessa Bryant, 202-618-6433 or email@example.com
Washington, DC — Better Markets filed in court today an updated version of its still-pending request for transparency in MetLife v. Financial Stability Oversight Council. Yesterday, on March 30, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia announced that it had filed an opinion under seal, explaining its basis for granting partial summary judgment to MetLife and rescinding the designation of MetLife as a systemically important financial institution. A redacted, public version of that opinion is expected in early April, after the parties propose redactions. Better Markets previously moved to intervene in this action, proposing a process that would subject all the existing redactions to careful scrutiny so that the public would have access to the record in this important case. In its court filing today, Better Markets requested that its proposed process also apply to the redactions in the court’s opinion.
“The FSOC is the only agency with the legal duty, responsibility, and authority to identify, investigate, and designate systemic threats to the country from nonbanks in the shadow banking system. It is the American people’s frontline defense against another cataclysmic financial crisis like 2008, which cost the United States more than $20 trillion in lost jobs, homes, savings, and so much more. Yet MetLife’s lawsuit to effectively gut the FSOC’s ability to do its enormously important job has been shrouded in secrecy because more than two-thirds of the record has been filed under seal and is unavailable to the public. And now the court’s decision, overturning FSOC’s designation, is also under seal,” said Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets.
“The American people have a presumptive right of access to judicial records, one that is firmly established in the law, deeply rooted in our history and traditions, and essential to the integrity of our democracy. Thus, the court’s opinion, like the parties’ briefs and the evidentiary record, should be fully available to the public, limited only by the most compelling claims of confidentiality, which must be independently scrutinized by the court. So far, unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. That’s why we went back to court today to renew and update our request for transparency,” Mr. Kelleher said.
In MetLife v. FSOC, MetLife has prevailed in the first round of this litigation, winning a nullification of the FSOC’s judgment that MetLife is systemically significant. This decision, depending on its reasoning and breadth, could not only erase that designation but also paralyze the FSOC in its ability to address other nonbank systemic risks to the financial system before they ignite another financial crisis. The American people deserve to know as much as possible about that action.
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street, and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies—including many in finance—to promote pro-market, pro-business, and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements, and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.