When President Obama appointed his new chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission, he promised she would “crack down on the culture of greed and scheming.”
But that culture seems to be getting the better of Mary Schapiro after the resignation of her agency’s top counsel, amid allegations of questionable ethics.
That former top counsel, David Becker, is among those whose family actually made money from the massive frauds of Bernard Madoff.
As SEC general counsel, Becker recently argued for a change in policy that would have allowed his family to keep more of the fortune they made from Madoff, rather than turning it over to pay those who lost money.
Becker might have been considered a curious choice for a new tougher SEC, considering that during an earlier stint as a top SEC lawyer earlier in the decade, Becker was among those who failed to crack down on Madoff, despite highly publicized warnings.
Now Becker has decamped back to the corporate firm from where he came, leaving Schaprio, his former boss, sputtering about what she can and can’t say about what she knew about Becker’s Madoff investments and when she knew it.
This is, of course, catnip to the Republicans looking for any opportunity to embarrass the Obama administration. Never mind that they oppose any kind of regulation of the financial industry at all.
What a great gift Schapiro and Becker have handed Republicans: proof that the Obama administration’s promises to protect us from the “culture of greed and scheming” were nothing more than a sham. Meanwhile, Becker slams the swinging door in our faces and goes back to his real job – representing the interests of big banks and financial interests.