For a little while there, it seemed like the Security and Exchange Commission was going to dispute the allegations that they had let Bernard Madoff slip through their fingers by ignoring a series of letters warning that the Madoff Securities executive was running a giant Ponzi scheme. "At this point, I don't see any evidence that the S.E.C dropped the ball," Arthur Levitt, the SEC chairman from 1993 to 2001 was quoted as saying in the New York Post yesterday. But last night, current SEC chairman Christopher Cox admitted that the agency not only dropped the ball, but deflated it and stomped all over it.
“Our initial findings have been deeply troubling,” Christopher Cox, the S.E.C. chairman, said in his statement. The commission received “credible and specific allegations regarding Mr. Madoff’s financial wrongdoing,” but did not respond aggressively, he said.
“I am gravely concerned by the apparent multiple failures over at least a decade to thoroughly investigate these allegations or at any point to seek formal authority to pursue them."
The apology is remarkable coming from this administration, which has been loathe to admit to doing anything wrong. But is it going to make anyone feel better? No. If the grandmas who lost their life savings with Madoff are anything like our grandma, right about now they're thinking, "Stuff your sorrys in a sack, mister. All the apologies in the world aren't going to bring back our $50 billion dollars."
S.E.C. Issues Mea Culpa on Fraud Case [NYT]