Ally McBeal Star Gives an Executive’s View (From Jail) To Highlight Opposition to Bush Nominee for SEC Chairman
Santa Monica, California — Actor Greg Germann plays a jailed executive in a new video short “thanking” President Bush for nominating Congressman Chris Cox to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Cox’s nomination is opposed by consumer groups in part because Cox was named in a 1995 lawsuit for his role in misleading regulators about an investment scheme that became one of the most notorious investment frauds in American history. Germann, who stars opposite Jennifer Anniston in the upcoming film “Friends With Money”, is well known as “Richard Fish” from the TV show Ally McBeal.
In the video, released on the internet today, a CEO (Germann) argues that Cox would be perfect for the SEC, because: “We need somebody to head the SEC that big business has confidence in. Now, Chris Cox has received over $250,000 from the securities and investment industry… If that’s not a vote of confidence, I don’t know what is.” The video ends by revealing that the CEO has been making his case for Cox from a jail cell. The video is streaming at http://www.stopcox.org.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is expected to begin consideration of Cox’s nomination on Tuesday. Consumer activists at the nonpartisan ConsumerWatchdog.org have vowed to fight the Cox nomination and are working with national labor, investor and consumer organizations to spread the video to millions of Americans. The group is beginning a fundraising push to air the video as a targeted cable advertisement.
The video, produced by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights for its website ConsumerWatchdog.org, was released in order to:
* Draw attention to the congressman’s troubling record on consumer and investor protection issues;
* Publicize over $500,000 in campaign contributions he has received from companies he would regulate at the SEC; and,
* Highlight his role, as a private attorney, in a California investment scam that robbed senior citizens and other small investors of as much as $130 million and landed Cox’s former client in prison.
“Despite everything we learned from Enron and WorldCom, President Bush wants the Securities and Exchange Commission to be run by a politician whose record in Congress and as a private attorney has been to undermine investor protections at every turn,” said Douglas Heller, Executive Director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. “Americans need a watchdog and the President has given us a corporate lapdog.”
In the video, Germann’s CEO argues that most Americans are overly concerned with corporate accounting shenanigans and efforts to mislead regulators about investment risks. He touts Cox’s legislative work to free business from regulatory oversight as it relates to securities and defends Cox’s involvement with First Pension swindler William Cooper: “I mean, William Cooper went to jail. Did Chris Cox go to jail? No. I don’t think so.”
As a private attorney, Cox represented First Pension Corporation and its founder William Cooper, who was later sentenced to prison for swindling California investors out of $130 million dollars in a massive pyramid scheme. Cox argued to California securities regulators that Cooper’s investment schemes were low-risk and should be free of regulatory scrutiny. In fact, the risks associated with First Pension’s mortgage investments were extremely high. Read Cox’s letter to California regulators at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/coxletter_85.pdf
“Chris Cox protected the schemes of a man who stole $130 million from retirees. He is not fit to work at, let alone run, the nation’s investor protection agency,” said Heller.
Cox was named as a defendant in the investor lawsuit against First Pension Corp., and was only dropped when his former law firm assumed all responsibility for his actions on behalf of First Pension. That same year in Congress, Cox pushed a change in securities law – the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act – which made it more difficult for defrauded investors to get their money back in court. Read the investor lawsuit: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/Henry_v_LW.pdf
The video also notes that Chris Cox has received more than $258,000 from securities and investment firms and more than $209,000 from accountants. (Data from opensecrets.org).
The video was produced and directed by Julie Bergman-Sender and Stuart Sender of Balcony Films.
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