One SEC conflict of interest probe leads to the next
Members of Congress probing potential conflicts of interest in the SEC's posture toward Bernard Madoff's investors are now expressing concern about potential conflicts of interest in the SEC's response to their probe.
Lawmakers have asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary L. Schapiro to turn over a host of records, but Monday they complained that the SEC office at the center of the controversy -- the Office of the General Counsel -- was apparently coordinating the response.
"As a result of Mr. Becker's former position within the OGC, we are concerned that the preparation of the Commission's response might be supervised and conducted by individuals who were themselves involved in the events and communications" that are the subject of the inquiry, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a Monday letter to Schapiro.
The lawmakers asked that the task be entrusted to the SEC's inspector general, who is also investigating the matter.
SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment.
Members of Congress are still waiting for Schapiro's answers to a list of questions about the Becker affair. They will have a chance to ask them in person Thursday, when she is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill.
Three congressional panels have scheduled hearings on the SEC for Thursday.
David S. Hilzenrath
| March 7, 2011; 9:13 PM ET
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