SEC Chair Cox Fiddled as US Markets Burned

'Exceedingly cautious' approach had Paulson looking to kill agency
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2008 3:22 PM CDT
Christopher Cox delivers a speech, during the annual conference of the international organization and securities commission in Paris on May 28, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – With US markets in upheaval, the head of the watchdog Securities and Exchange Commission was preoccupied with a new technology for corporate filing, Bloomberg reports. Christopher Cox’s inaction has provoked bipartisan criticism: McCain adviser Carly Fiorina said he has been “asleep at the switch,” while Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd has ordered a probe into the drastic drop in SEC enforcement under Cox’s watch.

Meanwhile, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke are encroaching on traditional SEC roles: The Fed has put its own examiners into big financial firms, while Paulson has proposed a regulatory overhaul that would eliminate the SEC. “There is a risk that the SEC will be marginalized unless the chairman insists on a seat at the table,” said a former SEC general counsel.