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San Diego attorney Gary Aguirre has an article in the September edition of "Wall Street Lawyer," a publication for securities attorneys. Aguirre describes how the Dodd-Frank Act gives the securities agency "unique FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] exemptions available only to the SEC." The agency, while denouncing secrecy and lauding full disclosure, managed to maneuver Section 9291 into the Act, which provided it protection when lawyers seek agency documents. Aguirre thinks his own use of FOIA in his case against the SEC may have prompted the SEC's desire to protect itself. As told on this blog many times, Aguirre, while working for the SEC, wanted to interview the head of Morgan Stanley over possible insider trading in connection with the Pequot hedge fund. The agency reminded him that the mogul had clout. It fired Aguirre. He fought. Two Congressional committees and the SEC's own internal watchdog said Aguirre was right and the SEC wrong. Finally, the hedge fund that Aguirre suspected of insider trading was caught in the act (thanks to evidence provided by Aguirre), and heavily fined. It shut down. The SEC bureaucrats went unpunished. Aguirre sued the SEC and got a good settlement. I must repeat one more time: the SEC was founded in the 1930s to protect the public from Wall Street predators. Now it protects Wall Street predators from the public. It hasn't changed significantly under the Obama administration. One of the key methods by which Wall Street controls the SEC is through the "rotating door" phenomenon. An SEC lawyer is assigned to pursuing a crook. The crook's law firm offers the SEC lawyer a job for $2 million a year. Its client gets off.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Sept. 16, 2010 @ 4:45 p.m.

Big Business (and special interests) runs America, and unless someone steps in and puts a stop to it the country is doomed.

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David Dodd Sept. 16, 2010 @ 4:56 p.m.

Again, I offer that any attempt by the government to regulate the market simply connects the government to the market. Abolish the Federal Reserve, and completely cut government ties to the market.

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Founder Sept. 16, 2010 @ 6:28 p.m.

I hope "San Diego attorney Gary Aguirre" gets more vocal about the City going Bankrupt before they sell off everything in Managed Competition...

San Diegans deserve better than to get New York'd before our Leaders tip toe into Bankruptcy Court, in the hope s of protecting their own pensions!

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johnsd Sept. 18, 2010 @ 12:29 a.m.

One of the things that I remember from reading Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" several years ago is that for government to work well, you have to assume that the bureaucrat not only has access to all the information, but also must be independent of all the interest groups (factions in Madison's words).

We are all self-interested to different degrees and without a strong ethical and moral foundation, it is very easy to rationalize special favors and take advantage of "opportunities." The success of capitalism is that it takes human nature into account and, when there is vigorous competition, keeps the competing interests "honest." The greater the role of government in everyday life and economic affairs, the greater the incentive for lobbyists to seek the special favors from the ruling class. Anybody who believes that most in the political class will act in society's best interest will be sorely disappointed. Just look at all the family members who work in lobby firms or Wall Street to see the truth. This is an equal opportunity endeavor for both Democrats and Republicans. There are very few "public servants" like Mr. Aguirre.

The government and regulators have a definite oversight role, which can also be interpreted as "competition." There is also a very important role for an independent and investigative media to present the facts to the public.

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Founder Sept. 18, 2010 @ 7:25 a.m.

Reply #4 Great Post!

Because our Leaders retirements are also affected by the City declaring Bankruptcy, I think the majority of them will do anything they can, to delay that decision until they are out of Office!

If this means selling off City Services by "Managed Competition" or ANYTHING ELSE, they will do whatever it takes, to protect their Union supporter that put them into office and themselves!

This is the dynamic that got SD into fiscal trouble and I believe that things will get much worse before they get any better.

Instead of our Leaders acting in "society's best interest" they are acting (no pun intended) in their own best interest!

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2010 @ 8:39 p.m.

Response to post #1: Who would stop it? There are no Progressives, no Populists, no Teddy Roosevelt, no William Jennings Bryan, nobody who would expose and busts the trusts. Everybody is for sale. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2010 @ 8:44 p.m.

Response to post #2: You want laissez faire? After what happened beginning in 2007? You really think that world businesses and financial institutions can be trusted to behave, keep straight books, not manipulate markets, not hide liabilities offshore, not stash money offshore? Please. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2010 @ 8:47 p.m.

Response to post #3: Managed competition can work in a city that is only moderately corrupt. It won't work in San Diego. Those contracts will go to those who line the pockets of politicians. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2010 @ 8:52 p.m.

Response to post #4: Try to find a City of San Diego bureaucrat who is free of special interest influence. Look at the marriage between the real estate industry and city government. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 19, 2010 @ 8:58 p.m.

Response to post #5: The unions representing City employees have shown no inclination to be reasonable. Bankruptcy is inevitable, but you are correct: leaders will stall it off as long as possible. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd Sept. 19, 2010 @ 9:10 p.m.

Re #7: All attempts at regulating the market have not stopped the problems you list, nor will they. Government attempts at regulations have resulted in a more corrupt government. It has become fashionable to blame market manipulation and corruption on laissez faire economics. Were that true, then all regulations that came as a result of the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression would have worked.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 19, 2010 @ 9:32 p.m.

All attempts at regulating the market have not stopped the problems you list, nor will they.

No, I thinkr egulation- least restricitve but enough to keep markets honest-work.

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David Dodd Sept. 19, 2010 @ 9:46 p.m.

Re #12: So long as the government is kept out of the regulating, then regulating isn't a bad thing. Market regulation with taxpayer money is just as bad as bailing out corrupt banks and other such institutions.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 20, 2010 @ 8:18 a.m.

Nothign is as bad as bailign out the wallstreet crooks that causedthis meltdown.

The crooks should have been charged criminally AND civilly, to use them as flaming sighn posts as to what happenes when you cause this much damage to our country.

Instead they rewarded the crooks with bailouts

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2010 @ 6:13 p.m.

Response to post #11: I don't like saying this, because I used to think as you do, but the mixed economy that emerged from the Great Depression and World War II has featured fewer and shallower recessions. Similarly, stock market price-earnings multiples have become higher and yields lower -- a sign of confidence in the system. Regulation stinks. But it's necessary. Hayek makes good reading but it is not real world economics. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2010 @ 6:29 p.m.

Response to post #12: Regulation has to be reformed, just as markets do. That's particularly true of financial regulation. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2010 @ 6:31 p.m.

Response to post #13: Your faith in the efficacy and honesty of so-called free markets is extraordinary. Best, Don bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 20, 2010 @ 6:32 p.m.

Response to post #14: Of course they were rewarded with bailouts, and went completely unpunished. They control the politicians. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd Sept. 21, 2010 @ 4:55 a.m.

Re #15 & #17:

I realize you're busy, but the following link is not only relevant to your blog entry (Dodd/Frank), but encompasses almost my precise view on regulation in general. It's a podcast, about an hour, but well worth it. There are notes in here as well, but the podcast is better, hope you find time to listen, it's an excellent discussion:

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/09/richard_epstein_1.html

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Don Bauder Sept. 21, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

Response to post #19: I'll get to it if I can find an hour. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2010 @ 1:30 p.m.

NOTE: The House on Thurday (Sept. 23) by voice vote agreed to repeal the Dodd-Frank capability of the SEC to withhold information on financial companies. The Senate earlier voted to repeal the exemption. It is not known if President Obama will sign the measure. Best, Don Bauder

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