Friday, August 10, 2007

The SEC Erred? Come on Now

"The [SEC] bungled a promising investigation two years ago into suspicious trading at Pequot Capital Management, a giant hedge fund, according to the final report released yesterday by Congressional investigators looking into the matter. ... Among the commission's failings ... the appearance of 'undue deference' to a prominent Wall Street executive that resulted in the postponement of his interview until after the case's statute of limitations had expired. ... The report paints a picture of an agency that does not always treat prospective witnesses equally", NYT, 4 August. Bungled? Undue deference? Get real. That's standard operating procedure for dealing with future employers. The SEC bungled nothing. It got exactly the result its employees wanted to put on their resumes.

Of course the SEC does not "treat prospective witnesses equally". Morgan Stanley's board of directors was represented by Mary Jo White (MJW). Pequot was represented by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (FFHSJ). So? Who is MJW? Wasn't she the US Attorney for the Southern District of NY who in 1994 wanted to prosecute Joseph Jett on preposterous charges that he orchestrated single-handedly a fraud against GE subsidiary Kidder Peabody in which he mispriced $23 billion of securities by $330 million? Who is a FFHRJ partner? Former SEC head Harvey Pitt. Now we can't think SEC and Justice Department personnel can by influenced by big jobs when they leave. Perish the thought. They are public servants.

If you are sufficiently simple-minded, you might think the SEC and DOJ are extortion rackets. As for the statute of limitations: look at a case like US v. West, 22 F3d 586 (1994). I think the lawyers' actions could be prosecuted by an ambitious AUSA. However, such AUSA would never be offered a $3 million a year job working for a big Wall Street law firm. What's the charge? 18 USC 1510, obstructing the operations of a federal agency. Tune in for the next installment of "As the Federal Agencies Turn". This is a soap opera.

1 comment:

Junior said...

Oh come on, Pop, why so critical?

With all the cases they are allowing to run out of control, they've got a lot on their plates.

It isn't like it's their one and only JOB to protect us from these sorts of things or anything......

the kids have a word for that... TOOLS! as in douchebags. we also have words in Spanish but I'll save those for the next SEC boo-boo. Should only be a matter of days...