Retired SEC Lawyer Calls Agency Penalties “At Most a Tollbooth on the Bankster Turnpike”

James Kidney, who joined the SEC in 1986 and retired this month, offered the critique in a speech at his goodbye party. His remarks hit home with many in the crowd of SEC lawyers and alumni thanks to a part of his resume not publicly known: He had campaigned internally to bring charges against more executives in the agency’s 2010 case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)

The SEC has become “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors,” Kidney said, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by Bloomberg News. “On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”

Kidney said his superiors were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases. The agency’s penalties, Kidney said, have become “at most a tollbooth on the bankster turnpike.” [Bloomberg]

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Related articles

SEC Takes Away Privileges From Another Felon In KPMG/PCAOB Scandal

David Middendorf’s trial buddy, Jeffrey Wada, the now-former PCAOB inspections leader who fed confidential information about upcoming audit inspections to some folks at KPMG, including Middendorf, in the hopes of landing a job at the Big 4 firm, is now prohibited from appearing or practicing before the Securities and Exchange Commission as an accountant. Wada’s […]

Convicted Ex-KPMG Partner David Middendorf Suspended By the SEC

Another “KPMG 5” executive who will be serving prison time for his role in a scheme to steal confidential audit inspection lists from the PCAOB was suspended today from appearing or practicing before the Securities and Exchange Commission as an accountant. The SEC released the following two-page order of suspension against David Middendorf, former national […]