McCain Would Put Cox on the Chopping Block | NBC New York

McCain Would Put Cox on the Chopping Block

John McCain says if he were president, he'd fire SEC chairman Christopher Cox

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    John McCain promises change at the top of the SEC if he's president.

    With the nation's economy in turmoil, John McCain told voters that one of his first move towards stability would be the dismissal of Security and Exchagne Commission chair Christopher Cox. 

    "The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public's trust," McCain told the crowd at a rally in Iowa. "If I were president today, I would fire him."

    It was the SEC's relaxation of their debt-to-equity rules that precipitated the current crises, former SEC official Lee Pickard told the New York Sun.

    In 2004 the SEC allowed five firms -- Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- to increase their leverage by more than 100 percent.

    "They constructed a mechanism that simply didn't work," Mr. Pickard said. "The proof is in the pudding — three of the five broker-dealers have blown up."

    Only Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley still exist.

    In a statement, Cox chalked up McCain's comments to the heat of the campaign.

     "History will judge the quality of our response to this economic crisis, but now is not the time for those of us in the trenches to be distracted by the ebb and flow of the current election campaign," Cox said. "And it is precisely the wrong moment for a change in leadership."

    Cox added that he's always intended to leave the SEC when the Bush administration ends in January 2009.

    Campaigning in New Mexico, Obama mocked McCain's call to fire the SEC chairman.

    "In the next 47 days you can fire the whole trickle-down, on-your-own, look-the-other-way crowd in Washington who has led us down this disastrous path," he told a rally in Espanola. "Don't just get rid of one guy. Get rid of this administration. Get rid of this philosophy. Get rid of the do-nothing approach to our economic problem and put somebody in there who's going to fight for you."