Today's blog is less a legal analysis of a case than it is a somewhat pathetic rendering of all that is wrong with Wall Street regulation. Unfolded before us is what appears to be a record of misconduct by the respondents as developed by FINRA; regardless, you're left wondering whether FINRA would have opted for the same hammer and tongs approach against a large member firm and one of its C-suiters. Making matters worse, FINRA and the SEC seem engaged in a ping-pong game of sending a case up to the federal regulator on appeal and back down to the self-regulator on remand and then back up and then back down and, well, sigh . . .
In March 2011, United States Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer traveled to Russia to attend, of all things, the American Conference Institute's "Moscow Anti-Corruption Summit," replete with high-profile private-sector sponsors and a pricey $3,925 registration fee. I voiced my opposition to the AAG's participation in the conference in "One Day In the Life Of Lanny Breuer (the Moscow Anti-Corruption Summit)" (BrokeAndBroker.com Blog / March 17, 2011). Just going by events in 2022, that 2011 ACI anti-corruption seminar didn't accomplish jack. Perhaps the 2023 Anti-Corruption Summit will be held in Kiev or Kiyv or however the hell they will spell what's left of the city after the Russians have reduced it to rubble.
In my March 17, 2011 blog about the Moscow anti-corruption summit, I referenced an article that I had written for Forbes.com: "The Great Kentucky Caviar Criminal Caper Comes To An End In Ohio." Inexplicably, Senator Rand Paul plagiarized my Forbes' Kentucky caviar article for use in a book that he purportedly authored; see: "Section Of Rand Paul's Book Plagiarized Forbes Article / More copying and pasting from the senator. The author was unaware, but flattered, Paul used his wording" (BuzzFeed.News by Andrew Kaczynski / November 5, 2013). Adding insult to injury, the reporter who uncovered Senator Paul's plagiarism of my article, misconstrued my sarcasm about plagiarism being a sincere form of flattery as implying that I was, indeed, flattered by Senator Paul. I was not. I'm still not. Talk about being victimized twice!
A federal court was presented with what looked like a classic case of bootstrapping accompanied by a heavy does of circular logic. A victorious Claimant in a FINRA arbitration moved to confirm her Award in state court; however, the defeated Respondents moved to vacate in federal court. In federal court, the Respondents seemingly argued that the process of evaluating their motion somehow imbued the court with jurisdiction. Clever tactic? An act of desperation? See what the Court decided.
After a whistleblower files a Form WB-APP with the SEC in order to secure a Whistleblower Award, far too much time elapses until the issuance of a Preliminary Determination by the Claims Review Staff. SEC Chair Gensler needs to reform the manner in which the CRS handles its docket, which seems to have mushroomed into somewhat unmanageable dimensions given the growing chorus of complaints from Claimants and their lawyers. Before you buy into the recent spate of self-serving press about the SEC Whistleblower Program, consider a recent case in which one deserving whistleblower was jerked around by the process.