With Feds Launching Major Insider Trading Trial, Menendez Leads Fight To Boost Wall Street Watchdogs

With Feds Launching Major Insider Trading Trial, Menendez Leads Fight To Boost Wall Street Watchdogs

GOP Guts Very Agencies Responsible for Holding Wall Street Accountable

Menendez: "Republicans Tell Shady Traders-Wall Street Open for Business"

Washington - With Federal prosecutors launching one of the biggest insider trading cases in history today, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, called on Congress (FULL LETTER BELOW) to provide Wall Street regulators with the resources they need to hold Wall Street accountable and protect middle class investments. Menendez's fight to hold Wall Street accountable comes as federal prosecutors are accusing Raj Rajaratnam, the former head of the Galleon Group hedge fund, with what would be one of the largest insider trading case in Wall Street history.

Specifically, the Republican budget cuts the budget for both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission of 2 percent and 34 percent, respectively. President Obama is proposing an increase to $1.43 billion for the SEC and $308 million for the CFTC. Despite their cuts, the Federal deficit is not impacted by the funding levels Congress sets for the SEC and possibly the CFTC.

The GOP's reckless cuts come at the same time as the new Wall Street reform requires new responsibilities. The SEC and the CFTC are now responsible for oversight of the over-the-counter derivatives market and hedge fund advisors; greater disclosure regarding asset-backed securities; and creation of a new whistleblower program. In fact, the CFTC was already responsible for overseeing actively traded futures and options contracts on U.S. exchanges, which have increased nine-fold in the last decade.

• Goldman Sachs generated $8.3 billion in profit in 2010 alone - 5 times more than the size of President Obama's funding request
• In 2005, SEC provided 19 examiners for a trillion dollars in investment under management. Today, that figure stands at 12 examiners per trillion dollars
• CFTC staffing remained level over the decade while the trading volume jumped five-fold
• In 2010, the SEC returned $2.2 billion to harmed investors, twice the agency's budget

Senator Menendez said, "Republicans are telling shady traders that Wall Street is open for business. Investors deserve more. New Jersey families and I understand the need for shared sacrifice. But no one should support opening our markets to every swindler in the world. I plan to stand up to these powerful interests and make sure we have a cop on the beat to protect confidence in the market."