McCain says he would appoint AG Cuomo to head SEC

By Chris Rizo | Sep 22, 2008

Andrew Cuomo (D)

John McCain (R)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-Republican presidential nominee John McCain has said he could tap Democratic New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to head the Securities and Exchange Commission in his administration.

In an appearance on CBS' "60 Minutes" program, McCain said Cuomo would restore credibility to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been widely criticized for its oversight of Wall Street.

"I think he is somebody who could restore some credibility, lend some bipartisanship to this effort," said McCain, who last week called on President George W. Bush to fire SEC Chairman Christopher Cox over recent turmoil in the U.S. financial markets.

Cuomo, the son of former Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton. Cuomo is a Democratic superdelegate who was a supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination.

As HUD secretary, the Arizona senator said that Cuomo "did a good job," adding that he "has respect" and "has prestige."

The New York attorney general, who has securities oversight responsibilities, has garnered national attention in recent weeks for his investigations into how banks marketed auction-rate securities.

Banks, including Bank of America, have been accused of illegally misrepresenting to clients the risks of investing in auction-rate securities for which the interest rate or dividend is reset periodically through an auction mechanism. The market for auction-rate securities soured earlier this year.

He is also investigating short sellers of such financial companies as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and American International Group Inc. to determine whether investors spread false information in an effort to drive down stock prices.

"I believe the federal government has been ineffective when it comes to regulating these markets,'' Cuomo said in a conference call last week. "We want to stabilize the market. The market needs stability now."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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