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Inside Washington (01/06/2009)
* WASHINGTON (1/7/09)--At a hearing Monday, lawmakers debated on whether the Madoff Investment Securities fraud could have been uncovered with more regulation (American Banker Jan. 6). The scheme involves Bernie Madoff, a money manager accused of using a Ponzi scheme to take billions from investors. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said the Madoff case indicates that more regulation is needed. He and Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) said Democrats have tried to increase authority at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but that their efforts have been rejected by Republicans. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) argued that more regulation would not have prevented the fraud. The SEC didn’t use the powers it already has, he said. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) agreed. Some Democrats--including Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.)--said the Madoff case has caused them to lose confidence in the SEC. The Senate Banking Committee also announced Monday that Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member, sent a letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox stating that they are reviewing the reported fraud. They also requested documents about the case ... * WASHINGTON (1/7/09)--Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he expects that President-elect Barack Obama’s team will seek the remainder of the $700 billion bailout fund (Congressional Quarterly Jan. 6). Frank is drafting a bill on limitations on how the remaining $350 billion will be spent and said he has talked with the Obama transition team about the legislation. Frank said he would release his bill after Obama takes office Jan. 20. The Bush administration also could seek the funds before it leaves office, he said, noting that the money is “Obama’s to spend” ... * WASHINGTON (1/7/09)--Colin McGinnis will serve as acting staff director of the Senate Banking Committee (American Banker Jan. 6). McGinnis, former chief of staff for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), will succeed Shawn Maher. Maher left his post to serve in the Obama administration as Senate deputy director of legislative affairs ... * WASHINGTON (1/7/09)--The Treasury announced Monday details of its $15 billion investment in seven banks made through its Capital Purchase Program. The program--a part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program--was created to stabilize and strengthen the financial system. The details indicate that the Treasury’s largest investment was in SunTrust Banks at $1.3 billion. Other banks receiving investments include Fifth Third Bancorp and the PNC Financial Services Group ...


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