Remember that weird moment during yesterday’s Madoff hearings, when the SEC’s top lawyer, Andy Vollmer, declined to answer questions, and kinda sorta implied he was asserting executive privilege, before backing off that claim when pressed by lawmakers? The moment that provoked Rep. Gary Ackerman’s blunt assessment: “We thought the enemy was Mr. Madoff. I think it’s you”?
One staffer described the Vollmer moment to TPMmuckraker as a “bombshell” within the agency’s headquarters.
And it looks like the SEC is a little embarrassed about it — and about the general evasiveness of other agency brass in their testimony yesterday.
Check out this letter, which the SEC’s new chair, Mary Schapiro, sent to the committee last night.
Schapiro tells lawmakers that the hearing “cannot have been satisfactory for you.” She admits that there needs to be a full accounting of what went wrong, and offers to meet with the lawmakers, at their earliest convenience, to “determine a course forward that will meet all of our interests.”
As for the Vollmer issue itself, an agency spokesman confirmed that he wasn’t claiming the privilege, but couldn’t offer any further explanation, saying he’d get back to us.