An interesting rhetorical question headlines an L.A. Times editorial, Why are the Dems caving in on Cox?, by Jamie Court, Jamie Court, author of “Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom and What You Can Do About It” (Tarcher/Penguin, 2004), runs Consumerwatchdog.org.
A.) Because caving in is what Democrats do.
B.) It’s a pavlovian response to Bush appointments.
C.) The Democratic Party is nearly as dominated by Wall Street campaign contributions and graft as the Republican Party.
D.) All of the above.
It sounds like a perfect opportunity to expose deep seated corruption in the Bush Crime Family and the Republican Party:
In a better world, next week’s Senate confirmation hearings on the nomination of Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission would be the Democratic Party’s finest hour. The hearings offer a perfect opportunity to decry Wall Street’s looting of Main Street and to put the GOP on trial for creating the conditions under which corporate criminals flourished.
Instead, Democrats have been eerily silent on Cox, a right-wing Republican who wrote a 1995 law making it harder for investors to take corporate swindlers to court. Cox’s Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which became law over President Clinton’s veto, has been blamed for allowing some of the nation’s worst financial scandals — including those at Enron and WorldCom — to proceed unchecked. The law let corporate executives off the hook for exactly the kind of utterly misleading statements Enron Chief Executive Kenneth Lay made to keep his company’s stock price artificially high.
Jamie Court states the obvious:
Indeed, Cox — who President Bush has tapped as the best possible choice to be Wall Street’s top cop — is the poster child for how laissez faire, country club Republicanism took trillions out of the pockets of Americans. If the Democratic Party can’t find it within itself to stand against putting Americans’ life savings in Cox’s hands, the party doesn’t stand for anything.
Corporate corruption is literally Cox’s stock and trade:
Cox’s approach to corporate crime predates his time in Congress. As a private securities attorney in the mid-1980s, Cox worked for William Cooper and his company, First Pension Corp. Cooper was accused of running a Ponzi scheme, convicted of fraud and imprisoned.
After Cooper was caught, Cox, then a congressman, claimed he had not known his client was a fraud. Nonetheless, Cox was sued by investors for what they said was his role in misleading regulators on Cooper’s behalf. Cox’s law firm settled the case.
Documents from the lawsuit show that Cox, acting as Cooper’s securities lawyer, represented the plan — which ultimately went bust — as “low risk,” and sought to minimize state oversight of it. Cox failed to disclose to regulators that Cooper’s real estate license had been suspended in another alleged fraud and that First Pension was under investigation by the SEC. Whether this violates the rules of professional conduct governing attorneys is an open question the Senate should explore. But America shouldn’t choose as its chief investment cop a lawyer who tests the very limits of those rules.
From the Dept. Of The Obvious:
So why don’t Democrats seem to care? Beltway rumor has it that the Democrats are looking for a quid pro quo from Bush, under which the White House would accept Democratic leaders’ choices to fill the party’s two seats on the five-member SEC in return for silence on Cox. Friday, Bush announced his backing for the Democratic candidates.
Senate Democrats’ willingness to accept such a quid pro quo from Bush would suggest that this party has no fight, no heart and no soul.