Welcome to our new blog, "The Watchdog," which will keep a close eye on regulatory agencies and how their actions impact the lives of everyday Americans. Though the rules and regulations they write -- from determining how much arsenic is allowable in your drinking water to whether your favorite TV show can drop the F-bomb in primetime -- affect all of us, their deliberations and the way that lobbyists influence their decisions receives very little coverage.
To make sense of these debates, follow the implementation of health care reform and financial reform and decipher the minutia of the Federal Register, "The Watchdog" is on the case. If you have any tips or suggestions, send them to email@example.com.
02/17/2011 12:07 PM EST
Senator: How Comes Nobody's Gone To Jail?
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) asks a crucial question during today's Senate Banking Committee hearing on Dodd-Frank's implementation.
"Whats the point of financial regulation if enforcement has no teeth? How come nobody's gone to jail?"
Here is live video of the hearing.
Witnesses include:Ben S. Bernanke Chairman Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve SystemSheila Bair Chairman Federal Deposit Insurance CorporationMary Schapiro Chairman U.S. Securities and Exchange CommissionGary Gensler Chairman U.S. Commodity Futures Trading CommissionJohn Walsh Acting Comptroller of the Currency Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
02/17/2011 10:45 AM EST
SEC Busts The 'Amish Bernie Madoff'
Today's story of the day describes the SEC's investigation of Monroe L. Beachy, a 77-year-old Amish man in Ohio, on charges of financial fraud -- his assets included a horse, buggy and harness.
Per the Washington Post:
Beachy spent a quarter-century raising $33 million from more than 2,600 investors, the overwhelming majority of them fellow members of the Amish community, which often shuns modern conveniences such as automobiles.
But Beachy's investment approach allegedly had more in common with the timeless methods of Charles Ponzi and Bernard Madoff than with the sheltered village of Sugarcreek, Ohio, where he lived. When the SEC charged him with fraud on Tuesday, it said he had lost nearly half of his investors' money.
02/17/2011 10:39 AM EST
The Wake-Up Call: How Is Dodd-Frank Doing?
- Today's must-watch congressional hearing: "Oversight of Dodd-Frank Implementation: A Progress Report by the Regulators at the Half-Year Mark". First up to bat is Fed chief Ben Bernanke, who described how the Fed is helping to establish the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB). Here is FDIC chair Sheila Bair's prepared testimony, in which she describes implementing the resolution authority to wind down failing banks.
- The NYT's Binyamin Applebaum beats me on a story I've been reporting off and on for six months: what is the value of a human life (according to government regulators)?
- Check out these documents on the outsourcing of airline maintenance and the risks it might pose, along with the role of FAA, uncovered by "Frontline" and the Investigative Reporting Workshop.
- The reform for disabled borrowers that the Education Department refuses to adopt, according to ProPublica.
- Who should be nervous today about the Countrywide subpoena?
- Senate bill would make government leaks a felony.