SEC chief backs self-funding

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro Wednesday voiced support for a provision in Senate financial regulatory overhaul legislation that would allow the agency to self-fund its budget by retaining fees it collects.

Schapiro was asked about the provision included in the overhaul measure of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., following a House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the SEC's fiscal 2011 budget request. She said that while the level of funding provided to the SEC by appropriators in recent years "has been great, it's very important" for the agency to have the stability of self-funding. She said it would "give us the ability to respond to changes" more quickly, add staff when needed and do long-term technology and resource planning.

The fiscal 2010 funding for the SEC was $1.1 billion, a $151 million increase over fiscal 2009. However, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who has been pushing to make the SEC a self-funded agency, said in November that the agency collected $1.5 billion in fees in 2008. The agency has requested $1.26 billion for fiscal 2011.

The issue of allowing the agency to be self-funded did not come up during the hearing. While noting that the SEC must not allow the agency's failures to be repeated, the subcommittee's leaders voiced support for the job Schapiro is doing and pledged to provide her with the resources she needs to ensure both investors and the public have confidence in the SEC.

While lawmakers "expect a lot from the SEC, we stand ready to support you," Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., told Schapiro.

Schapiro was questioned about a report released last week on the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers that found the firm used accounting gimmicks to hide $50 billion in debt. Schapiro said the SEC is looking very closely at the conduct of a number of firms prior to the financial meltdown of late 2008, though she declined to provide any names.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, also questioned Schapiro about why SEC employees are not prohibited from working for firms the SEC regulates for a certain amount of time after leaving the agency.

"We want to bring in the best and the brightest," including those from Wall Street who understand how the financial industry works and can help find problems, Schapiro said. "At the same time, if you tell them they can't go work for five years in this industry, we will have a difficult time bringing in the people we need," she said.

"It's a bad idea," Culberson responded. "I think you should think about doing away with it." Schapiro agreed to look into changing the agency's policy on the issue.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.