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The relationship between the USA's SEC and DoJ

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Author: 
Editorial Staff

In a congressional hearing in 1987, US Congressman Norman F Lent of New York put it to the Chairman of the USA's Securities and Exchange Commission, John SR Shad that Rudolph William Louis ("Rudy") Giuliani, then the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, had a better public relations office than the SEC, it appearing that it was his office that had done all the work in the insider dealing case centred around Boesky, Milken, Levine and Drexel, Burnham, Lambert. Shad's explanation of the relationship which holds good today.

Congressman Lent: If you live, as I do, and you do, up in New York you get the impression that the SEC isn't even involved. You get the impression that Giuliani did everything; that he did it and he dug it out and he got the confession and all the stoolies and all of the other evidence. And maybe you're not being fairly treated or being given ample credit for the work that the SEC does.

Mr Shad: First of all, I think Giuliani is doing an outstanding job. We work very closely with the Justice Department. And the distinction between the two areas is that we are a civil law enforcement agency and Justice is a criminal law enforcement agency. Most of these cases, I think it's true to say, originate with the SEC. We get the leads, we develop them, and when we get to the point where we think we have a criminal [breach] we refer that then to the Justice Department. We work together the make the case.
          "Now we often pull back and let them come forward first because they have a higher standard of proof than we do. They can send people to prison but to do it they have to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. At the civil level, for use to get injunctions are administrative proceeding type cases settled the way we want them, our standard is by a preponderance of the evidence. So we don't have as tough a case to make.
         "We've had situations were the Commission has brought sanctions and gotten consents and settled them. They've then gone through the criminal justice system and the defendants have won some of those cases: some very important ones. So that's how the two work and we work very well together, and there's been increasing co-operation between us. Because the best deterrent is not the fines, big as they are, it's sending somebody to prison. That really deters this type of activity. So, that's why we work so closely with Justice."

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