Journalism in the Public Interest

Budget Cuts, Lobbying Challenge SEC’s Oversight

When President Obama came into power on the heels of the financial crisis, he pledged to beef up the Securities and Exchange Commission, a chief watchdog of Wall Street. But with a strapped budget and the changing political winds in Congress, that plan may come up short.

The SEC has already begun cutting back on investigations and enforcement because of uncertainty about its budget, including delaying getting testimony from witnesses and performing audits, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

In a release on its website earlier this month, the SEC said it had already delayed implementing six parts of the financial reform bill because of budget constraints, including creating offices to work with whistleblowers and to oversee credit rating agencies.

President Obama wanted a 12 percent budget increase for the SEC, but that extra money may not be approved. From the Journal:

The SEC could be a target of newly empowered Republicans in the House who have vowed to cut future spending to 2008 levels.

"Why are we rewarding the agency that failed so miserably on so many fronts?" complained Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.).

While the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill gives the SEC more power, it also gives it more work to do, laying out nearly 100 new regulations the agency must write and implement. And the Journal reports that without an infusion of new staff, the organization will need to divert resources from enforcement to rulemaking. SEC Chairwoman Mary Shapiro says her organization needs 800 additional employees to implement all the requirements of financial reform.

"A lot of the Dodd-Frank work is sapping resources and staff time that should be devoted to regulatory oversight," James Allen, head of capital-markets policy at the CFA Institute, told the paper.

Meanwhile, the companies are lining up to lobby on those rules. For example, more than 260 companies have told the SEC that a new program to pay whistleblowers for tips undermines the companies’ own internal compliance systems, the Journal separately reported today. And energy companies have been lobbying to make new regulations over derivatives more lax. The New York Times' Dealbook reported on a meeting with the SEC last week:

While Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and TIAA-CREF also attended the meeting, the loudest pleas came from the energy companies.

Their simple message for regulators? Just trust us.

You can check out details on all meetings with lobbyists on the SEC’s website.

Here we go again. This is a vicious cycle that will never end. Senator Dodd as well all know has been taking backdoor lobby gifts for some time now, under Goldman-Sachs. We should just hand over the keys to the Treasury to them. Oh wait, they already printed off double currency just recently, therefore the economy is becoming hyper-inflated. Blankfein received a $67.9 million bonus in his first year at Goldman-Sachs. He chose to receive “some” cash unlike former CEO Henry Paulson, his predecessor who chose to take his bonus entirely in company stock. This is disgusting. I wouldn’t even know what do with that much money. So, why are we rewarding these suits for all of their hard work at effing us over? When will we say “ENOUGH”!!!? !YA BASTA! Am I alone in suggesting that we follow the advice of Abraham Lincoln when he says “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.” We do have the power, being the masses, we have the numbers to successfully turn the tide. The stagnant Government is responsible for all of the failures in the past 50 years, Hiroshima & Nagasaki being 2 of them, the W.T.O., World Bank, I.M.F.
& SEC being just a small portion of the rest. It’s time we flush the rubbish down the toilet.

Gunther Steinberg

Dec. 15, 2010, 8:37 p.m.

Cutting the budget for the SEC is the GOP’s method of curtailing investigations into misdeeds of their generous donors, who do not want to be investigated. It is payback for campaign donations, pure and simple.
If the SEC were to keep all the fines it levies, it would have more money than it requires.
    It is the same tactic that Republicans have used to curtail IRS investigations into the tax avoidance of their well of friends. IRS investigations also yield a very good return for the investment of funds. for the US treasury.

One could almost believe that the Republicans’ bipolar acts of running this nation into debt with wars even as they defunded it with tax cuts was intended to create precisely this situation:  An inability to fund both enforcement and social service programs.

I could, at least; my opinion is that the hatred of the American people that possesses those who control the Republicans runs deep and was only exacerbated by such as FDR, LBJ, and JFK.

They’ve obsessed over destroying the American middle class as well as any government entity or program that impedes their rate of wealth accumulation for almost 100 years…from generation, to generation.  Looks like they’re going to pull it off, too…

I find it curious, however, that they should think they’ll pass through the consequences unscathed.

If you liked what has happened in the last 2 years just wait until “bought and paid for” John Boehner is the house speaking, then the fun will really begin. They’ll start to concentrate on cutting the deficit, that will mean getting rid of these pesky officials that were bothering the likes of Goldman Sachs. Big business, especally the financial industry paid big dollars for the results of the last election, Boehner is their puppet, if he doesn’t get his way he may start crying.

Well, the REPUBLICAN/BUSH years saw the worst government theft in US history.  Not to entitlement programs either.  No bid contracts that either weren’t fulfilled or pathetically cobbled together.  Now these same republicans want to pull funding from the main “government” organization charged with preventing or in this case, reversing of the corporate ownership of the government.  Close the door FOREVER ON LOBBYISTS!  clearly the congress can’t police itself, the republicans have demonstrated this fact many times throughout american history.  The problem is that the uninformed ideological americans who voted the dems out because they couldn’t stop the republicans from filibustering, and blocking any legislation their masters, the wall street bankers, and corporations who line these pig’s pockets.  They will swing back to the republicans because the american people are plain stupid.  This “government” serves the rich.  It hates REAL democracy.  Then it would have to play fair.  And, as is well documented throughout american history, republicans can’t win a fair fight.

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