This is probably a bad time for Harvey to ask for that raise again…
Less than three months ago, President Bush signed with great fanfare sweeping corporate antifraud legislation that called for a huge increase in the budget of the Securities and Exchange Commission to police corporate America and clean up Wall Street.
Now the White House is backing off the budget provision and urging Congress to provide the agency with 27 percent less money than the new law authorized.
Under the corporate clean-up legislation, the commission’s budget â€” which for years has barely kept up with inflation, let alone the steep rise in stock ownership â€” was authorized to increase by 77 percent, to $776 million. But as Congress wrestles with the spending measures that actually appropriate money to federal agencies, the White House is requesting $568 million for the S.E.C., officials said, or an increase of about 30 percent over last year’s budget of $438 million.
Now, if we remember our current history, we have been told recently by thge administration that the war in Iraq (wghich Bush hasn’t made up his mind on yet…snerk) is going to cost about a $200 billion dollars. So, if we like, you know, invaded Iraq a couple of days later, do you this we could throw some of that money the SEC’s way? I didn’t think so…
Getting back to Harvey and his request for more money, I can’t let pass a couple of great lines from the linked article:
Harvey Pitt, the embattled chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, was acting on his own in asking Congress for a promotion and a raise, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday. …
Pitt, who chaired an SEC meeting Wednesday, did not mention the request and refused to answer questions from reporters afterward.
SEC spokeswoman Christi Harlan defended Pitt’s request to lawmakers.
“It was an informal suggestion to the conference on behalf of the agency, to raise its profile to help investor confidence and to attract the most qualified accountants, lawyers and economists,” she said. “It had nothing to do with the chairman.”
Pitt’s lobbying efforts to elevate the SEC to full Cabinet status and to raise the chairman’s salary from the present $138,200 to $166,700 was first reported in Wednesday’s editions of The New York Times.
Then there is the always reliable Ari Fleischer:
“The president is focused on the strengthening of the SEC’s structure and ability to fight fraud,” Fleischer said. “That’s where his focus is at. He’s not focused on that issue”
Anyone want to take a guess what was on Ari’s Word of the Day calendar?
Rittenhouse does a much better job on this than me.