The head of the SEC has told an increasingly hostile House of Representatives that she's going to hand off future lease negotiations to the federal General Services Administration.
Making deals for office space is "not our core mission," Mary Schapiro told members of the House's transportation and infrastructure subcommittee.
Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican from California, called the hearing to find out how the SEC managed to lease 900,000 square feet of prime Washington real estate that it didn't actually need -- a deal that could have cost the regulator at least $94 million to get out of the 10-year $557 million deal.
Jeffrey Heslop, the SEC's chief operating officer, testified on the matter a few weeks ago, but failed to come up with the answers that Rep. Denham and others were looking for.
Even though the SEC is voluntarily giving up control over future real estate decisions, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from the District of Columbia, is still lobbying to get leasing formally stripped from the commission's area of responsibility.
In a relatively positive note, Schapiro says her people managed to pull out of the lease without paying more than $415,000 for telecom equipment and consultants.