Washington, D.C. — Consumer Watchdog today called upon the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to question former Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Chairman Christopher Cox about his revolving door conflicts as he testifies today. The nonpartisan consumer group opposed US Senate confirmation of Cox as SEC Chairman based on his representation of a swindler in private practice and pointed out that Cox has since returned to lucrative private securities defense practice.
Cox, an attorney and former Congressman is now a partner with Bingham McCutchen LLP in its corporate, mergers and acquisitions and securities practice in Orange County, California. When he was nominated to head the SEC in 2005, his work at the firm of Latham & Watkins prior to being elected to Congress was highlighted in a video featuring comic actor Greg Germann, dealing with his defense of a massive Ponzi scheme that should have disqualified him from the SEC post. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb3ejh-1D5M.
“Chris Cox is the quintessential symbol of Bush era indifference to financial fraud that wrecked the economy and pulled the rug out from under Americans because insiders like Cox were watching the Wall Street trading coop,” said Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court. “Cox should be questioned about how so much fraud could go undetected under his watch and also about his contacts with his former and current employer during his tenure.”
Cox has a long and sordid history of working on behalf of corporate interests and scammers that attempt to side-step the law.
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.
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
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
During Senate consideration of Cox’s appointment to head the SEC in 2005, Consumer Watchdog launched a campaign to warn the public consumers about Cox’s troubling past.
Consumer Watchdog released a video during Cox’s Senate confirmation hearings for his SEC post, warning, what we all know now to be true, that Cox was a dangerous and irresponsible choice. Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb3ejh-1D5M
In the prescient video, actor Greg Germann plays a jailed executive "thanking" President Bush for nominating Congressman Chris Cox to head the SEC. Cox’s nomination was vehemently opposed by consumer groups. Germann is best known as "Richard Fish" from the TV show Ally McBeal.
Consumer Watchdog also highlighted:
* Cox’s troubling record on consumer and investor protection issues;
* The over $500,000 in campaign contributions he has received from companies he would regulate at the SEC.
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