According to allegations made by a Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer, released by Congressional investigators, the organization has illegally destroyed documents related to at least 9,000 preliminary inquiries over the past two decades.
Rolling Stone reports the allegedly deleted documents involved Bernard Madoff, as well as financial institutions that played parts in 2008’s financial meltdown, including AIG, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. The SEC destroyed the documents under a policy that mandated the disposal of records from preliminary inquiries that did not become formal investigations. The SEC reportedly did away with the policy last year.
The lawyer cannot speak to the press because he’s a federally protected whistleblower. Rolling Stone says he gave a presentation to three congressional committees this summer that indicates the SEC was “conquered” by those it was in charge of investigating. An SEC spokesman said the agency is not required to keep all documents.