The Securities and Exchange Commission, which is the govt “watchdog” that’s supposed to bark at corporate wrong-doing, has a gift for us this Thanksgiving. Well, that is, not us exactly. More like for lobbyists.
As the Project on Government Oversight reports, the SEC is postponing a new ethics rule. That’s no big deal, right? Wrong.
As POGO notes, the move deliberately allows an untold number of senior SEC employees to evade standard employment regulations – more specifically, it allows them to leave the agency and immediately begin lobbying their old government colleagues on behalf of corporate clients.
To understand why this week’s SEC move is particularly scandalous and ideological – and not just some accident or some move based on earnest logistical considerations — you have to look at the history of the original ethics rule.
Recall that earlier this year, President Obama faced a wave of criticism for nominating Mary Jo White — a woman with a history of turning her government work into private-sector jobs defending Wall Streeters — to head the SEC. White is a perfect exemplar of the corrupt revolving-door culture that has made the SEC into an enabler of corporate crime.
That culture of corruption has lately crescendoed. Indeed, in recent years the SEC has (among other things) engaged in document shredding to cover up the corporate crime it is supposed to be stopping; notoriously persecutedwhistleblowers; and been humiliated for trying to prevent its own employees from doing their law-enforcement job. Meanwhile, as was famously noted by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in a video that quickly went viral, the agency has also refused to bring enforcement actions against major financial institutions.
To strip away the pretends and go directly to the core, the SEC just made it possible for lobbyists to work for their corporate owners and their SEC “watchdog” at the same time. The SEC can now hire a corporate stooge straight off the showroom floor and when s/he’s finished his/her time blocking any enforcement of the laws that are supposed to prevent corporate theft and malfeasance, s/he can leave the SEC on Friday and start lobbying Congress on behalf of the corporation on Monday. Ain’t that keen?
This is a giant step toward an official public recognition by the SEC of its own invincible, continual corruption. Pretty soon they’ll be bragging about it and the NYT will be carrying articles praising their “honesty”.
And so it goes.