Thursday, June 02, 2005

The More You Look the Uglier the Cox

As promised I have been looking more into Cox and the more I look the worse he is. American Progress Action Fund has a lot to say about Cox, and none of it is good.
COX IS THE ANTI-DONALDSON: Don't expect Chris Cox to pick up where Donaldson left off. He has built a career on doing the bidding of financial lobbyists. During his career he has accepted more than a quarter million dollars from the securities and investment industry. In 1995, Cox "sponsored the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which restricted the ability of investors to sue for securities fraud." He sponsored the bill the same year he was sued for "misleading regulators and investors about the condition of a real estate investment fund" in the 1980s. The charges against Cox personally were dropped after his law firm settled for an undisclosed amount. Cox said the experience caused him "to sympathize with people who are victimized in these suits." That sympathetic group includes people who lie to investors, regulators and the public.
Oh wait, there is more.
Chris Cox, who Bush will shortly announce is his nominee to become chairman of the SEC, was the primary sponsor of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. That law helped set the stage for Enron and others to hide their fraudulent accounting practices. Moreover, it helped shield these corporations from liability once the fraud is exposed. From a 1/20/02 LA Times editorial by William Lerach and Al Meyerhoff:

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act might more accurately be labeled the “Corporate License to Steal Act.” Approved by just two votes over a presidential veto, the law was written largely by and for powerful corporate interests. It gutted historic safeguards against fraud and weakened those protecting investors. It set up legal obstacles that may have enabled Enron to hide its questionable accounting practices. Under the law, victims must prove a fraud in detail without access to evidentiary documents. Damages are limited. Those collaterally responsible for a fraud like, perhaps, an accounting firm, are protected from liability.

In other words, if you liked corporate scandals like Enron and WorldCom, you’ll love Chris Cox.


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