What recourse does the public have to hold the SEC accountable?
An anonymous viewer asks:
John Coffee said he thinks the SEC was neglectful in its inspection duties of Madoff business dealings. If so, what recourse does the public have to hold the SEC accountable?
Diana Henriques responds:
Well, the SEC is a federal agency, subject to the oversight of Congress. Citizens concerned about how any agency of the government is carrying out its duties can always convey that concern to their elected representatives and demand some action. If they do so in sufficient numbers and with sufficient emphasis, Congress usually pays attention.
John Coffee responds:
Ultimately, the public's response is to the political process. Congress will hold the SEC politically accountable, both through public hearings and through its control of the agency's budget, and the Obama Administration has already nominated a new SEC chairperson (Mary Schapiro). Heads may also roll among the SEC's division directors who are deemed to have underperformed. There is also a strong possibility that the Obama Administration will seek legislation to merge the SEC with another agency (the Commodity Futures Trading Commission).