James Kidney, who joined the SEC in 1986 and retired this month, offered the critique in a speech at his goodbye party. . . .
has become "an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors," Kidney
said, according to a copy of his
remarks obtained by Bloomberg News
"On the rare occasions when enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount.
Tough enforcement, risky enforcement, is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening."
superiors were more focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service than on bringing difficult cases.
The agency's penalties, Kidney
said, have become "at most a tollbooth on the bankster turnpike."
March 27 remarks drew applause from the crowd of about 70 people, according to witnesses.
In an interview, Kidney
hadn't heard any blowback from SEC officials. . . .
speech bemoaned the lack of SEC enforcers who "believe in afflicting the comfortable and powerful.
. . .
also hit the agency for using misleading statistics to showcase its enforcement efforts.
should focus on the quality of its actions, rather than try to file as many as possible just to tout its record to lawmakers and the media, he
"It is a cancer," Kidney
said of the agency's use of numbers.
"It should be changed."
said in the interview that he
will always be an SEC loyalist and was trying to offer constructive criticism that could help the agency.
wasn't singling out any specific cases or officials in his
comments. . . .