The Lummis-Gillibrand Responsible Financial Innovation Act

On June 10, 2022, U.S. senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S. 4356, their Responsible Financial Innovation Act, to transfer most regulation of cryptoproducts to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC}, essentially ousting the SEC, presumably perceived to be a more aggressive regulator, from oversight of cryptoproducts that were securities.

The senators’ timing could not have been worse. Between November 2021 and June 21, 2022, global crypto capitalization fell 69 percent, led by Bitcoin, the industry leader, which declined 70 percent, Coinbase, the leading crypto exchange, which fell 86 percent, and Tether, a supposedly safe form of … Read more

An Important and Timely Book: John C. Coffee, Jr.’s Corporate Crime and Punishment

During the last 15 years, a consequential U-turn occurred in federal white-collar criminal enforcement. Federal enforcement of white-collar crimes all but collapsed in the period of 2000 to 2007. In the first 11 months of 2008, the SEC prosecuted 133 cases compared with 437 in 2000 and 513 in 2002. Justice Department prosecution of financial fraud cases based on SEC referrals would decline from 69 cases in 2000 to nine in 2007. Throughout the 2008-2009 financial meltdown, virtually no senior corporate executives were prosecuted. Journalist Jesse Eisinger in 2014 would report that only one top banker went to jail as … Read more

Memories of Bill Cary

More than 30 years have passed since I completed the interviews for the first edition of The Transformation of Wall Street.

My interview with Bill Cary on October 28th and 29th, 1980 was particularly memorable.  I met with Bill in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where he was being treated.

Bill had already written a memoir of his years as Chair of the Commission, Politics and the Regulatory Agencies.   Bill met with me to be helpful to my effort to draft a comprehensive history of the SEC.

Only at the end of the interview did I appreciate … Read more

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Editor's Tweet: Famed securities law expert and historian Joel Seligman recounts his memories of SEC Chairman William L. Cary and his impact on the SEC