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Senate Fails to Investigate Chris Cox’s Involvement in Investment Scam, Quietly Confirms Cox as America’s Investor Watchdog; American Investors Should Take Warning -- Will Keep an Eye on Cox


LOS ANGELES -- The following is a statement of Douglas Heller, executive director of the nonprofit and nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights:

“Americans should feel more concerned about the security of their nest egg today, with the confirmation of Congressman Chris Cox as the top cop at the Securities and Exchange Commisison (SEC). By failing to investigate Chris Cox’s past involvement in a massive investor scam that cost retirees and other small investors $130 million, the Senate stepped away from its role as a check on the President and served as a rubber stamp for the anti-investor, anti-regulatory culture that led to the corporate devastation of Enron and WorldCom. ”Despite everything we learned from Enron and WorldCom, President Bush and the Senate have chosen to have the SEC run by a politician whose record in Congress and as a private attorney has been to undermine investor protections at every turn. Americans need a watchdog and the President has given us a corporate lapdog.

"If Cox’s chairmanship is marked by lax regulation and corporate exploits, Senators will shoulder some of that responsibility. As a result, Americans themselves have to go on investor alert. Through our website, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights will keep an eye on Cox and alert the public when he makes decisions that benefit corporations rather than investors or turns a blind eye to executive excess. We invite investors to sign up at the site to get news about problems at the SEC and to provide information about Cox and the SEC’s actions that may put American investors at risk.

"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 Ponzi scheme. Among his extensive work for the company, 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. He also withheld key facts from regulators about ongoing regulatory investigations concerning Cooper and First Pension.

"Now Cox will be in charge of ensuring that corporations fully disclose all facts about and the true value of companies. He will be responsible for prosecuting companies, accountants and lawyers who mislead, cheat and steal from American investors; Chris Cox’s record does not instill confidence.

“As America’s investor watchdog, Chris Cox’s job is not to facilitate the profits of the stock brokers, accountants or corporations that have contributed millions to his political career. His new job is to protect and fight for the American investor. Cox is now directly responsible for the security of American workers’ pensions and 401Ks, college education funds and personal retirement plans. American investors must remain alert to ensure that in his hands our next eggs don’t get broken. ”


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