David Becker claims he did everything by the book. Mary Schapiro herself defends him. What really happened at the SEC?
At this point, we might never know why the SEC was asleep at the wheel for so long where Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme was concerned.
But according to the regulator's former general counsel, David Becker, claims that the conflicts of interest went all the way to his desk are way off base.
Becker told a congressional panel last week that he immediately disclosed that he had inherited a bit of money from his mother's Madoff account.
By the time the scandal broke, the account had already been liquidated and so was ineligible for SIPC protection. As such, he didn't think to tell SIPC or the Madoff trustee.
Furthermore, Becker notes that while he argued that those who lost money on the Ponzi scheme deserved to be paid back in inflation-adjusted dollars, he dismissed arguments that Madoff's clients deserved to get whatever imaginary numbers the fraudulent manager concocted for their statements.
That kind of position doesn't really sound like what someone trying to get a bigger piece of Madoff's surviving assets would come up with. But on the other hand, the account was already closed -- there was nothing to gain either way.
Before Becker's testimony, representatives grilled Becker's old boss, Mary Schapiro. Maybe his testimony cleared up some of the questions about whether his decisions about how to handle the Madoff clean-up were compromised.
Answering questions of whether proper procedures were followed may be tougher.
You can watch video of the proceedings and make up your own mind. (Beware, the video is four hours long so the file will take a long time to load.)