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Congress Called Out for Cutting SEC Tech Funding

"Investor advocates are calling out Congress for slashing millions of dollars from funds the Securities and Exchange Commission had earmarked for upgrading its technology used to detect trading and accounting frauds like Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme.

"Several years ago, the SEC, at Congress’ direction, established a $50 million reserve fund to set aside money for long-term projects, notably technology upgrades to help the agency keep pace with rapid technology advances on Wall Street.

"To the dismay of SEC officials, the agency found out this week that Congress had taken back half of the $50 million as part of budget cuts included in a $1 trillion spending bill.

"'In an e-mail to the Washington Post, which first reported the cutback, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee said the SEC “has as much tech money as it needs' and that SEC officials 'should feel confident that they have sufficient revenue to carry out their technology mission.'”

“'The SEC has barely 20th Century technology trying to police markets, predators and criminals with 21st Century technology. It’s like putting cops on the streets without radios,' said Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a Washington, D.C.,-based investor advocacy group."

 

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