Chairman Sarbanes, Senator Gramm, Distinguished Members of this Committee:
It is with great respect and pleasure that I appear before you today. I am honored to have been nominated to serve on the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Please allow me to introduce to you my wife Mary. She has more than supported and encouraged me; she has been an extraordinary partner in every aspect of my life. With Mary are our three sons, Charlie, Paul, and Joey, of whom we are very proud.
I come from a working class background. My father was a furrier and then a postal worker. My parents believed in our financial markets, and, because of social security and their investments, retired to a relatively comfortable life in Florida. Our nation is now witnessing the most dramatic business scandals that have occurred during my professional life. On a very personal level, I feel the pain of the retirees and investors whose futures have been jeopardized. If I am confirmed,I promise to do all that I can to punish corporate wrongdoers, and to rebuild faith in the fairness and integrity of our financial markets.
The SEC is a great institution. In January 2000, soon after I left as general counsel to resume my teaching duties at Columbia, I spoke with enormous pride of the decency, dedication, professionalism, and common commitment to "doing the right thing" that "motivated the SECís staff from top to bottom." I welcome the opportunity to return to the SEC at this critical time for investors and our markets. If the Senate confirms me, I will draw my inspiration from the performances of two great past chairmen of the SEC, William L. Cary and Arthur Levitt. Bill Cary, my treasured teacher and colleague at Columbia, was chairman during the Kennedy Administration from 1961-64. He reinvigorated the agency and initiated a process of reform that changed securities law and financial markets enormously for the better. Arthur Levitt, my dear friend, you all know. As chairman, he was outspoken, courageous, uncommonly wise, and as he often put it, "passionate about protecting investors." Day by day in his remarkably successful 8-year chairmanship, Arthur acted on his beliefs and in the public interest.
The Senate this week took a bold balanced, and important step toward restoring investor confidence. I want you to know how much I appreciate the critical role that you, Chairman Sarbanes and this Committee have played with respect to the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002. The nation is very much in your debt for this piece of legislation, and for the oversight you have provided for our financial regulatory process. I very much look forward to working with you Mr. Chairman, Senator Gramm, and this Committee, and with Chairman Pitt and my other new colleagues on the Commission. I feel confident that all of us working together can more than meet the current challenges.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Gramm, and Members of the Committee, for this opportunity to appear before you today. I would be pleased to try to answer any questions you may have.
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