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Political Economy
Posted at 05:52 PM ET, 08/24/2011

D.C. earthquake: SEC shakeup fails to silence agency spokesman

Don’t say he ducked the question.

The scandals and controversies swirling around the Securities and Exchange Commission occasionally leave its chief spokesman in “no comment” mode, but Tuesday’s shakeup at the agency failed to silence him.

When the ground beneath the SEC’s Washington headquarters began quaking Tuesday, public affairs director John Nester was in the middle of a telephone interview with a Washington Post reporter.

Nester cupped a hand over the phone and shouted to his staff to get under their desks.

(If they had not already done so, is how he put it, apparently to make clear that they didn’t have to repeat the procedure on his account.)

Then Nester followed his own advice – and, with his telephone cord stretched, continued to answer questions.

Nester declined an offer to continue the discussion at a more convenient time. He also denied that the biggest earthquake to hit the nation’s capital in decades was a diversionary tactic.

The interview ended well after the rumbling subsided.

Next, Nester recounted Wednesday, he walked up and down the nearby hallways checking on members of his department and directed them to evacuate the building, which is adjacent to Union Station and a short distance from Capitol Hill.

Nester said Wednesday that being a parent of young children had inspired him to be prepared.

“We have designated safety areas in our house,” he said. “We all know where to go depending on the events.”

By  |  05:52 PM ET, 08/24/2011

 
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