Schapiro: SEC testimony not satisfactory

Feb 5, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

By Dan Jamieson

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro has offered an apology of sorts for the testimony of SEC officials before a House subcommittee hearing yesterday that was looking at the SEC's role in the alleged Bernard Madoff fraud.

“Today's testimony before your subcommittee could not have been satisfactory,” Ms. Schapiro wrote Wednesday in a letter to Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., the chairman, and Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., the ranking member of the House subcommittee on capital markets.

Ms. Schapiro sent the letter after a panel of top SEC officials refused to answer specific questions from panel members about the Madoff case, citing ongoing investigations. At one point during the hearing, SEC acting general counsel Andy Vollmer cited executive privilege and other privileges in declining to answer some questions.

That claim caused a sharp rebuke from committee members.

Executive privilege “was not claimed ... by anybody” at the hearing, said SEC spokesman John Heine today.

Ms. Schapiro promised to work with the subcommittee to provide information without compromising investigations.

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