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Former SEC chairman criticizes agency IG

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Former SEC chairman Harvey L. Pitt denounced the agency’s inspector general Thursday, saying the internal watchdog appears bent on destroying reputations and staff morale and crippling the SEC’s effectiveness.

Without using his name, Pitt said Inspector General H. David Kotz has taken an “unprincipled approach” in criticizing “hard-working, well-intending” SEC employees.

Pitt’s accusations come as Kotz is preparing to issue a series of reports on sensitive SEC issues. One involves allegations that the SEC’s enforcement division pulled punches in a Wall Street probe. Another involves allegations that the agency glossed over a conflict of interest in its work on compensation for victims of Bernard Madoff’s investment fraud.

Pitt is representing a former SEC official for free in the ongoing Madoff-related probe.

Kotz did not respond to requests for comment.

Pitt made his comments in wide-ranging written testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, which held a hearing Thursday on the SEC. His comments about the inspector general did not come up at the hearing.

“Since this Committee is interested in improving SEC accountability, it should consider the activities of a single individual, and the office he heads, who seemingly operates on the assumption that he can effectively terrorize innocent employees under the guise of upholding the law but not follow the law himself,” Pitt wrote.

Without naming them, Pitt said he had represented people pro bono before the inspector general.

“I have found the process currently employed to be Kafka-esque, fraught with diatribes and bereft of professional integrity,” Pitt wrote.

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