Corruption at the SEC

The San Diego Reader's Don Bauder has a good article on corruption at the SEC. SEC attorney Gary Aguirre wanted to interview John Mack of Pequot Capital Management about possible insider trading...
But his boss said Mack had big Washington connections — specifically, to President George W. Bush. Aguirre protested. Just weeks after he had been given a strongly positive job review, Aguirre was fired. The Senate’s Committee on Finance and Committee on the Judiciary did a 108-page study on the matter.

There were some hair-raising findings. While Aguirre was trying to get the Mack interview, an attorney at the Debevoise and Plimpton law firm sent Paul Berger, Aguirre’s boss, an email with the opening words “Yowza!” It described how an ex-SEC lawyer could make $2 million a year with the firm. One of the top attorneys at the Debevoise firm contacted a senior official of the securities agency on behalf of Mack and behind Aguirre’s back. After he fired Aguirre, Berger took a job with Debevoise. Similar quid pro quos are called the “revolving door” phenomenon — agency officials do dirty work while at the commission and then go with a big law firm representing the crooks who got off.

Read the whole thing. It gets worse, including blatant cover-ups at high levels of the SEC. And now the SEC wants to be in charge of investigating itself regarding its failure to do anything about Bernie Madoff even when it was repeatedly and specifically told Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.

Good riddance to the Bush Administration! Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is putting insider holdovers in charge at the key SEC, Treasury, and FDIC positions (I include the FDIC because it has departed from its legal role as protector of small depositors and become a slush fund to guarantee bad assets for Wall Street). Change we can believe in, indeed!

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