Skip to comments.McCain Flub? Republican Says He'd Fire SEC Chair as President
Posted on 09/18/2008 2:55:02 PM PDT by NoLibZone
ABC News' David Wright reports: At a joint rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Thursday, Republican John McCain slammed the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) for being "asleep at the switch" saying that if he were president, he would fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the SEC since 2005 and a former Republican congressman.
McCain said the SEC has allowed trading practices such as short selling to stay in place that turned the "markets into a casino."
"The regulators were asleep, my friends," McCain said. "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president. And in my view has betrayed the public trust. If I were president today, I would fire him."
But while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president.
From time to time, presidents have attempted to remove commissioners who have proven "uncooperative." However, the courts have general upheld the independence of commissioners. In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt fired a member of the Federal Trade Commission and the Supreme Court ruled the president acted unconstitutionally.
Asked how McCain would fire Cox if the president does not have the formal power to fire the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the McCain campaign pointed to former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt who resigned in 2002 when it was made clear to him that he had lost the confidence of the Bush administration.
"Not only is there historical precedent for SEC Chairs to be removed, the President of the United States always reserves the right to request the resignation of an appointee and maintain the customary expectation that it will be delivered," said McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds.
SEC Chair Chris Cox released a statement Thursday in which he disagreed with McCain that he should be fired and defended the regulatory agency he heads.
While I have great respect for Senator McCain, we have sometimes disagreed, and this is one such occasion," Cox said in a statement. "The SEC has made plain that we have zero tolerance for naked short selling. In this market crisis, the men and women of the SEC have responded valiantly as they always do with the utmost dedication and professionalism."
The White House said this week it wants to stay out of politics, but a Bush administration spokesperson said today of SEC Chairman Cox, who was nominated by President George W. Bush: "the chairman has the president's support."
Campaigning together in Iowa today McCain and Sarah Palin accused the Obama campaign of taking political advantage of the recent economic crisis.
"My opponent sees an economic crisis as a political opportunity instead of an opportunity to lead," McCain said.
Said Palin of Obama: He likes to point the finger of blame, but does he ever lift a finger to help?
McCain accused Obama of taking more campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives than anyone aside from the chair of the Congressional committee that regulates the lenders.
While Sen. Obama was lining his pockets with campaign contributors, he didnt lift a finger said McCain, who took credit for warning Congress of the impending crisis two years ago. McCain also noted that the former head of Obamas vice presidential search committee Jim Johnson was formerly a Fannie Mae executive.
The Obama campaign says when Sean Hannity asked Palin last night whether there should be an investigation of campaign contributions by Fannie and Freddie executives, she deferred saying, thats significant, but even more significant is the role that lobbyists play in this.
Obama campaign staffers note that several of McCains top advisors including campaign manager Rick Davis, vice presidential vetter Arthur Culvahouse, and McCain consigliere Charlie Black lobbied on behalf of the mortgage giants.
ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Lisa Chinn, Alyssa Litoff, Bret Hovell and Imtiyaz Delawala contributed to this report.
Whatever. We know what he meant. He’d ask for his resignation or he’d make life hell for him.
They need five people to write a story?
But, but, but...I though McCain and Bush were evil twins. How can one be for Cox and one against?
Anyway, I’m not sure I agree with McCain on this, but at least he is being specific about what he would do, unlike Osama.
A flub? How about simply a figure of speech. I’d “fire” him too. HEck they shoulda “fired” Greenspan back when as well.
The BOZO should have ended naked short selling years ago.
Does the SEC have the authority to stop the practice of selling short? Is it illegal?
Not a flub...the white house confirmed tonight the President does have the right to fire the SEC chairman.
This is a flub, but not in the way that the MSM thinks. McCain sees the economy like every politician does: as an extention of bureaucracy. Since the age of Hoover, presidents have gone after the unrestrained free market in times of trouble, and they’ve all wrong.
By the way, wasn’t Johnson impeached over this sort of nonsense? Why can’t a president fire people he’s appointed? Who fires the head of an “independent” regulatory commission, if not the president? Why can’t the president ignore the court if he wants? Who put them in charge (and don’t tell me it’s the Constitution)? It’s about time someone told them they don’t run everything.
It is ABC-I am surprised that it only took 5 to write their slanted story.
since this is such a big issue we must bombard them with the fact hussien is not aware of the company receiving an $85 billion bailout...
The SEC does have the authority to enforce *existing* rules about naked short selling which for whatever reason, it didn’t do until today.
Cox should voluntarily step down just because all this crap happened on his watch. He failed.
They can ban all short selling. Based on the experiences of third world exchanges that have done so, one would expect volatility to increase by 500% and volume to decrease by 75%. Is that what you want?
..........Martha Raddatz, Lisa Chinn, Alyssa Litoff, Bret Hovell and Imtiyaz Delawala ......................
Vanna, I’d like to buy a few vowels!
Yep. The SEC has been doing a good job as of late...
Not. Yes someone should be fired, asked to resign, or whatever.
Same goes at the Fed, the Congress and some White House advisors.
I heard on Fox that the President does have the power to fire and appoint a successor
If Obama had said this, no reporter would ever mention the President’s inability to explicitly “fire” him. They would say Obama “meant” to force Cox’s resignation.
The President does have the right to fire the head of the SEC that he appointed. Are you saying he cannot fire SecDef or anyone he appoints?
Last I knew the President is free to fire any political appointee! Since the SEC is a political appointee then Bush can fire him.
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