Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., July 29
SEC Lets Superrich Off and Chases Small Fish; Now, Lawsuit May Show How This Regulatory Mischief Works
San Diego attorney Gary Aguirre has won a major battle in a lawsuit against his former employer, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While working at the agency, Aguirre thought there was good reason to look into John Mack, head of one of Wall Street's biggest firms, Morgan Stanley, and a fundraiser for George W. Bush. A hedge fund had made a bundle of money by betting on an acquisition that came to pass. Aguirre had good reason to believe that Mack may have tipped the hedge fund to the deal. But his bosses told him that Mack had "clout." Aguirre was fired and took his case to the Senate Committee on Finance and also the Committee on the Judiciary. The two committees did an exhaustive study and concluded that Aguirre was fired unjustly. There was good reason to interview Mack. Aguirre then sued the SEC, claiming, among other things, that he was fired for being a whistleblower. He asked for a number of documents from the agency. It withheld many and redacted large portions of others. He took the SEC to court on the refusals to produce documents and in late April won on most of his points in US district court in Washington, D.C. Documents showing how the SEC protects the superrich should be made public. Gary Aguirre is the brother of City Attorney Mike Aguirre.