Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Senate Dems: Weaker by the Moment
Senate Dems: Weaker by the Moment
Doug Heller

Given the opportunity to take on President Bush's (and big business's) nominee to head the Securities & Exchange Commission, at today's confirmation hearing, Senate Dems decided to take a pass. The nominee, Rep. Chris Cox, is about as anti-investor as they get, but for some reason, the Democrats don't seem to have the stomach for this fight. Is there no one on the Hill willing to put Bush's laissez-faire ideologue nominee on the spot, even if the calculation is that Cox will get the appointment? How can you live to fight another day, if you don't fight in the first place?

To get a comedic take on this nomination, watch the video with Greg Germann (Ally McBeal) giving a corporate crook's praise for Cox at

When President Bush nominated Congressman Chris Cox to head the SEC, he gave Democrats the opportunity to hit one out of the park. We're talking about putting Americans' nest eggs in the hands of a guy whose anti-regulatory credentials should have made him an impossible choice in the wake of Enron, WorldCom and the like. Pensions, 401Ks, college funds: these are things that matter, right?

But instead the Dems struck out today, or, rather, hardly came up to the plate.

Senators Schumer and Feinstein fawned over this "colleague on the Hill," whose bottom of the barrel record on investor and consumer issues and top of the heap fundraising from businesses he would regulate at the SEC make him a nominee who could and should be blocked. And none of it compares to his work as a private attorney when he misled regulators about an investment scheme that was used by William Cooper to swindle seniors and other small investors out of $130 million (see the LA Times reporting on this).

But apparently these things don't matter to the Senators interviewing a guy set to become the regulator of the world's largest stock markets.

The truth is, this is bread and butter material -- and the average American is getting toasted.