When Franklin Roosevelt appointed Joseph P. Kennedy as SEC chair, the president responded to concerns about Kennedy’s unsavory reputation by declaring: “It takes a thief to catch a thief.”
Over 70 years later, Bernard Madoff may have been hoping that President Bush agreed.
The just-released executive summary (pdf) of the SEC inspector general’s report on the Madoff affair notes that, according to one examiner, Madoff would often “drop the names of high-up people in the SEC” while being interviewed by SEC examiners. The summary continues:
Madoff told them that Christopher Cox was going to be the next Chairman of the SEC a few weeks prior to Cox being officially named. He also told them that Madoff himself “was on the short list” to be the next Chairman of the SEC.
Was there any truth to that boast? Or did Madoff just make it up as a way to intimidate the junior examiners who were investigating him? Who knows?
But maybe it wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world. After all, an SEC led by Madoff could hardly have failed more spectacularly than the one led by Cox.