SEC Chair: At Least I Didn't Panic
Cox defends record; failure to nab Madoff an 'inexplicable asterisk'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2008 8:56 AM CST
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox presides over a meeting at SEC headquarters in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Christopher Cox is proud that he’s done next to nothing in the face of the financial meltdown. “What we have done is stay calm, which has been our greatest contribution,” he told the Washington Post, contrasting that with the Fed and Treasury’s frantic machinations. Yes, the investment banking industry died on his watch, but protecting it wasn’t his job, he says. “The SEC is not a safety and soundness regulator.”

What the agency is supposed to be is a tough cop for the market. “That’s why Madoff is such a big asterisk,” he says. “It’s what the SEC’s good at. And it’s inexplicable.” But Cox said he wasn’t to blame for failing to catch the Ponzi schemer. His main recent regret is September’s 3-week ban on short-selling, a move he says he was pressured into by Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson.