Wednesday’s shocking resignation of the SEC’s recently announced Director of Enforcement, who spent more than 20 years as a Wall Street defense lawyer and only a little more than three years as a prosecutor in the last millennium, should be viewed as an opportunity for the agency to select someone appropriately qualified for the job.
The SEC now has the opportunity or rather obligation to select someone with deep and broad experience in protecting the public interest without fear or favor. There are lots of highly qualified federal and state prosecutors, state securities regulators and many others, including outstanding career professionals at the SEC itself, who would excel in that job.
Too many defense lawyers are unfit to lead SEC enforcement because they come loaded with conflicts and inevitable recusals; they don’t want to spoil their re-entry to private practice with overly aggressive cases; and they are cognitively biased by their own experience to believe defense counsel’s arguments.
Read our statement.