Government Convenience

The Federal government’s Securities and Exchange Commission is vacuuming every scrap of data—including personally identifiable—on every single stock trade done by every single American, and it’s collecting these data from every single broker, exchange, clearing agency, and alternative trading system in the US.

It’s also doing this without any Congressional authorization to do so. The New Civil Liberties Alliance has filed suit to attempt to block the SEC from continuing and to get the SEC’s Consolidated Audit Trail, the mechanism by which the SEC collects and stores these ill-gotten data, completely eliminated. Peggy Little, the NCLA’s Senior Litigation Counsel:

By seizing all financial data from all Americans who trade in the American exchanges, SEC arrogates surveillance powers and appropriates billions of dollars without a shred of Congressional authority—all while putting Americans’ savings and investments at grave and perpetual risk.
The Founders provided rock-solid protections in our Constitution to prevent just these autocratic and dangerous actions. This CAT must be ripped out, root and branch[.]

The SEC’s argument in favor of its invasion is utterly cynical [summarized by former Attorney General William Barr]:

[I]t could investigate things more easily if it weren’t limited to gathering investor information on a case-by-case basis after suspected wrongdoing took place.

Barr’s response:

But the whole point of the Fourth Amendment is to make the government less efficient by making it jump through hoops when it seeks to delve into private affairs[.]

Indeed. The convenience of Government is no excuse for Government doing anything. We the People don’t exist to give Government something to do. Government works for us.

It’s time to thoroughly rein in the SEC, and a (not the) efficient way to do so is for Congress to cut the SEC’s budget to the bone, including reducing its payroll line item, until the SEC’s commissioners and staff straighten up or are replaced. And note that that payroll line item includes those commissioners’ pay.

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