If you’re going to go out, go out with a bang.
James Kidney joined the SEC in 1986, and when he held his retirement party last month, he had a lot to say about what the agency didn’t do while he was there, according to Bloomberg.
He said that after the financial crisis, SEC lawyers were too “fearful” of Wall Street to bring charges against bankers, and that they were more concerned about lucrative gigs after their time at the agency.
The SEC has become “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors…On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”
“I have had bosses, and bosses of my bosses, whose names we all know, who made little secret that they were here to punch their ticket,” Kidney said. “They mouthed serious regard for the mission of the commission, but their actions were tentative and fearful in many instances.”
Kidney was working on the SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs after the mortgage crisis, and pushed for charges against Goldman Sachs execs. That only got him demoted on the case.
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