Democracy & Elections

The Lawfare Podcast: The SEC and the Facebook Papers

Jen Patja, Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic, Jacob Frenkel
Thursday, October 28, 2021, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, we’re talking about a subject that doesn’t come up much on the Lawfare Podcast: the Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has made waves with her congressional testimony and the many damaging news stories being reported about Facebook based on the documents she released. But before these documents became the Facebook Papers, Haugen also handed them to the SEC as part of a whistleblower complaint against the company. So, we thought we should dig into what that actually means. 

What is the likelihood that Haugen’s SEC filings turn into an investigation into the company? Should Facebook be worried? Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic discussed these questions with Jacob Frenkel, who spent years at the SEC and is now the chair of government investigations and securities enforcement at the law firm Dickinson Wright. He explained how to understand the SEC’s role in cases like these, why whistleblowers like Haugen file complaints with the SEC, and why he thinks it’s unlikely that the agency will investigate Facebook based on Haugen’s disclosures.

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Evelyn Douek is an Assistant Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Senior Research Fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School on the topic of private and public regulation of online speech. Prior to attending HLS, Evelyn was an Associate (clerk) to the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel of the High Court of Australia. She received her LL.B. from UNSW Sydney, where she was Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Jacob Frenkel is the chair of government investigations and securities enforcement at the law firm Dickinson Wright and formerly Senior Counsel in the SEC's Division of Enforcement.

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