Two experienced Securities and Exchange Commission officials who helped oversee reforms resulting from the 2008 financial crisis announced today that they are leaving the SEC for private sector jobs. James Brigagliano–the former deputy director of the SEC’s trading and markets division–is leaving after 25 years at the SEC to work for the law firm Sidley Austin LLP. John H. Walsh–the former associate director and chief counsel in the office of compliance inspections and examinations—is quitting after 23 years to work for Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP.
In their new roles, both men will help clients navigate the new financial reforms of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was created while they held leadership positions at the federal government’s top regulatory institution. Both men served as acting director of the SEC in 2009, when the Dodd-Frank Act was being written and debated.
“As the line between compliance and enforcement increasingly blurs, I look forward to using my extensive knowledge to help counsel clients on some of their most critical matters and help them navigate today’s new regulatory and compliance hurdles,” Walsh said in a statement.”
“I look forward to assisting clients in navigating the ever-changing regulatory landscape and joining former colleagues from the SEC,” Brigagliano said.”
The Dodd-Frank Act has widely been criticized as being toothless, and the news that former SEC leaders are now contributing to the efforts to work around it doesn’t figure to inspire confidence in the reforms. The fact that the line between compliance and enforcement is blurred, as Walsh puts it, is exactly the problem: regulatory reforms will be effective as long as the revolving door between lobbyists and the federal government continues to operate unchecked.
Brigagliano and Walsh’s decisions underscore this basic truth: if we are in the midst of class warfare, as many Republican officials like to claim, then it is clear which class is winning.