Hundreds of former Securities and Exchange Commission employees and officials are representing clients or employers before the agency, sometimes helping them score significant regulatory victories, according to a draft of a report scheduled for release today by the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan watchdog organization.
From 2001 through 2010, "more than 400 SEC alumni filed almost 2,000 disclosure forms saying they planned to represent an employer or client before the agency," the report states.
It continues: "Those disclosures are just the tip of the iceberg, because former SEC employees are required to file them only during the first two years after they leave the agency."
The report cites high-profile financial firms such as UBS, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Alaska Air Group Inc. as benefiting from the work of former SEC employees. Such ex-SEC officials have helped the companies they now represent win favorable regulatory rulings, the report asserts.
Former commission officials "routinely help corporations try to influence SEC rulemaking, counter the agency’s investigations of suspected wrongdoing, soften the blow of SEC enforcement actions, and win exemptions from federal law," POGO writes. "It matters because the SEC has the power to affect investors, financial markets and the economy."
Former SEC officials most frequently land at law, accounting and lobbying firms, as well as financial consulting outfits, according to federal disclosure reports POGO analyzed.
Topping the list are the ACA Compliance Group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG.
Along with the the 117-page report, POGO is releasing an updated, searchable database of former SEC employees, tracking who they're now employed by.
POGO released a related study in 2011.