By Janet Walgren
Last night I watched a congressional hearing by the House Financial Services Committee on the Madoff Investigation. First they conducted a panel to receive testimony from a former investment manager, Harry Markopolos, who investigated Madoff in the 90’s and on through the 2000’s. (The government needs to put this guy in charge of the Securities and Exchange Commission or S.E.C.)
Mr. Markopolos testified about the experiences he had trying to get officials in the S.E.C. to do their jobs. Had they done so, Madoff would have been stopped as early as 2002. Markopolos characterized the top people in the S.E.C. as totally incompetent. His characterization would have left one thinking the department should be totally erased, eliminated, destroyed… And yet, smart folks reserve judgement until they hear the other side of the story.
Members of the House Financial Services Committee ARE smart people, so that’s just what they did. The only problem was, try as they may – and they did, they didn’t hear anything worth hearing.
The second panel in the hearing consisted of the heads of the departments at the S.E.C. Seriously, I don’t know why they didn’t slap each one of them with a Contempt of Congress citation and throw them in jail. They definitely need to be looking for another job.
The head legal counsel for the agency indicated that they were invoking executive privilege as part of the reason they didn’t have to discuss the matter with the Congressional committee. When asked point blank if he had discussed the matter of executive privilege with the executive branch (attorney general and president) the answer was no. He was projecting his opinion as an official stance.
At one point a frustrated congressman asked, “What the hell happened?” (…silence…) Then he said, “Mr. Markopolos handed you a case on a silver platter and you did nothing! … So, why didn’t you get it?… That’s a question!… Which one of you would like to answer it, Hear No Evil, See No Evil or Speak No Evil?” Still there was silence …
One committee member concluded that they didn’t think that anyone could have presented a more damming case against the S.E.C. head officials than Mr. Markolopos; however, the S.E.C. officials made a more damming case against themselves.
So my question is, who should be guarding our economic ship? We all work hard to accumulate assets that will provide security for our families so why is it that we take for granted, or ignore, the governance of those we elect or appoint to watch over our assets?
Who should take the time and accept responsibility to watch over these extremely important things? Is our nation’s financial disaster the result of inaction on the part of the S.E.C. and the financial regulators? Does culpability lie with our Congress? After all, they are the ones who appointed a fox to guard the hen house. Is it the fault of the executive? Or perhaps, does the fault lie with the citizens of the United States of America?
Are we, as citizens, taking responsibility for managing our elected officials who are our employees? If not, why not? Our liberty, our freedom, our very way of life is in jeopardy.
If we don’t WAKE UP and ACT NOW everything our ancestors, and we as a people, have worked so hard to procure could disappear overnight, either through fraud or by being taxed out of existence. Our liberty as a nation depends on it.
To take your first step in becoming an informed citizen, Click here to watch Mr. Markolopos’ testimony at the Congressional Hearing for yourself…