WSJ on new SEC chief

The WSJ, which if you ignore their rabid-dog editorial page, is easily the best national newspaper, notes what nominating Cox means for the SEC: - Cox's Nomination to Run SEC Signals a Regulatory Shift:

In naming Rep. Christopher Cox as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, President Bush is picking a business-friendly champion of free enterprise who worked in the Reagan White House. The California Republican has supported legislation making it harder for investors to file securities-fraud suits and opposed stricter rules on expensing stock options and merger accounting.

His arrival promises to bring a shift in the SEC's approach to its crucial role in regulating businesses and markets. It comes in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown on corporate fraud over the past 2½ years. The scandals at Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc. and other companies prompted stiffer penalties, stricter accounting rules and a wave of enforcement actions by state and federal regulators.

Now the regulatory terrain could be changing. “He's someone who, if he is confirmed, portends a major shift in the direction of the SEC,” said Joel Seligman, dean of Washington University law school and an SEC historian.

...Mr. Cox, 52 years old, has represented his Southern California district since 1988, and before that was a partner at the prestigious law firm Latham & Watkins. With both business and law degrees from Harvard University, he has been an outspoken critic of class-action lawsuits and pushed for legislation that some critics called anti-investor. The 1995 bill sponsored by Mr. Cox, and supported by many business interests, raised the burden of proof for investors who claim to have been defrauded....

Some of Mr. Cox's top political contributors work in the securities and investment industries, which collectively have given him $254,412 since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The accounting industry has been among his most generous contributors, with accounting firms and lobbying groups giving Mr. Cox more than $49,000, in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles. His biggest contributor in the 2004 election was his old law firm, Latham & Watkins, which gave him more than $19,000.

In other words, lets bring back the Gilded Age! Business always knows best! Let a thousand Robber Barons grow!

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