Though it hardly seems this way from the outside, the SEC’s enforcement staff is in a somewhat difficult position in its investigations. The staff issues voluntary requests or administrative subpoenas to entities with potentially responsive documents, and then it waits. If a company doesn’t respond quickly, or at all, what is the SEC going to do? Sue? Remember that in the investigative stage no judge is in place to hear a motion to compel, as there would be with a publicly filed action in federal court.
But, yes, maybe the SEC will sue. If the circumstances are extreme enough, the SEC will file a subpoena enforcement action to seek to compel production of documents sought in the subpoena. As it did yesterday in this matter against Wells Fargo in the Northern District of California….
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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