Based on information recently received from the SEC, we are removing Ashland, Inc. from the Probes Reporter Watch List. The SEC informed us an error was made in processing our original request of 25-Feb-2014.
An SEC letter dated 06-Mar-2014, provided in response to that 25-Feb-2014 request, originally cited the law enforcement exemption of the FOIA to block our access to records on the company. After finding no disclosures of SEC investigative activity, we added Ashland, Inc. to our Watch List over the possibility of an undisclosed SEC investigation.
We have since received a "Corrected Final Response Letter" from the SEC that stated, "... after further consultation with other SEC staff, we have been advised that we have no records responsive to your request. A thorough search of the SEC's various systems of records was conducted, but SEC staff did not locate or identify any records responsive to your request".
It's worth noting that the SEC previously blocked our access to records on Ashland, Inc. on 18-Jul-2013, also by citing the law enforcement exemption.
That suggests there was SEC investigative activity somehow involving Ashland in the past year. However, our search of the company's filings over the past year turned up no disclosure of SEC investigative activity (through 22-May-2014).
As is our custom on all companies we add to the Watch List, we did file an administrative appeal on Ashland with the SEC's Office of the General Counsel on 24-April-2014. We will follow-up with additional information if appropriate.