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Embattled SEC Enforcement Chief Quits

Linda Thomsen, the SEC enforcement chief who was pummeled on Capitol Hill last week for failing to catch self-confessed $50 billion Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, has resigned.

The SEC release announcing her departure did not say a) who her successor will be and b) where she's going, both of which suggest this was a quickly arrived-at decision.

Here's an excerpt of last week's hearing, during which Thomsen was getting beaten up by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) for not catching Madoff, despite being led to him by independent investigator Harry Markopolos:

“If anyone could make the case better than Mr. Markopolos, and I didn’t think they could, about you people being completely inept, you have made the case better than him,” Ackerman said.

“I am profoundly sorry you feel that way,” Thomsen replied, meekly.

Thomsen, and her fellow SEC witnesses before the committee, did themselves no favors by claiming a form of executive privilege and refusing to answer specific questions about Madoff -- further infuriating lawmakers.

Thomsen was appointed the SEC's top cop job in 2005.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 9, 2009; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff, Linda Thomsen, SEC  
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oh my gawd!! did someone in the FedGov who completely and totally f..ked up actually accept responsibility and resign?

i have way more respect for Linda Thomsen now.

Posted by: millionea7 | February 9, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I watched the taped hearing on CSPAN this weekend and every single person from the SEC read virtually the same script, which was their mission statement for the most part. All dodged questions, especially Thomsen who was the female equivalent of Alberto Gonzales although she stopped short of pleading the 5th. She stated that the SEC had investigated Madoff for two years AND THE SEC DECIDED THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO CONVICT (2006 to 12/10/2008). Yup, it paid off that Madoff was once the chairman of the NASDQ and a billionaire. One man, Mr. Markopolos, was able to gather volumes of information that revealed Madoff's ponzi scheme in early 2001 (it took him four hours) and brought the evidence to the SEC in New York and Washington, D.C. AND THEY DID NOTHING. The SEC needs major housecleaning and NOW! Good riddance to them all.

Posted by: politico5 | February 9, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

A lucrative job for her in the banking sector awaits, no doubt, in gratitude for her stonewalling of Congress. Allowed to resign? She should be sentence to hard labor at minimum wage until the $50 billion that Madoff stole on her watch is paid back. Same goes for her old boss, former GOP Rep. Chris Cox.

Posted by: hairguy01 | February 9, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what about Ms. Richards? You know the other equally incompetent one, who attended a Madoff wedding. Shapiro should use "every tool in the toolbox" to get her out as well.

Posted by: Tess6 | February 9, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I guess now we know who signed off on ignoring Markopolos' tipoff letters. Heckuva job, Thomsie.

Posted by: hairguy01 | February 9, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The SEC and many other federal oversight agencies have been notably absent the last couple of decades. One could ad the immigration and naturalization department as well. I’d agree with others posting here that the SEC is long overdue for a management shakeup and several firings, as well as a large amount of direction and instruction on why those folks are in that office in the first place. (no, it’s not just to collect a paycheck) We taxpayers expect these folks to actually do the jobs they were hired to perform. Sadly, that seems to be just the opposite of SEC employees impressions.

Posted by: surfer-joe | February 9, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Chase out all the Bush appointees. There are ways to get them out. They can't be regulators as they're ideologically opposed to financial regulation.

Posted by: kevrobb | February 9, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I think a more appropriate title for Ms. Thomsen is non-enforcement officer. There appears to have been virtually no efforcement during Ms. Thomsen's tenure.

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | February 9, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

...I hate to say but this lady is in trouble. She needs to be picked up and held in custody for her own safety...

...because she took beating in public and she just might be a suicide risk at the moment because she really looked like a deer caught in the headlights...

...and she has information that could bring a lot of people down... I would suggest this young lady be picked up and held for questioning and suicide watch...

...I hope I am wrong but my sensors indicate this woman is in turmoil...

Posted by: moon-base-alpha | February 9, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

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