Washington - Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, member of the Banking Committee, once again advocated better accountability and reform at the Securities and Exchange Commission and other financial regulatory agencies after the Commission released a report with details on how the Commission mishandled the Madoff case and ignored warning signs over 16 years that could have prevented the multibillion-dollar fraud:
"The SEC Inspector General's Report shows the urgent need for financial regulatory reform at every level of the system. Not only was Bernard Madoff's business investigated on multiple occasions over a period of 16 years, on each and every single one of these occasions, the case was mismanaged by regulators. We need more effective financial regulators and strong independent inspectors to make sure those regulators are efficiently carrying out their responsibilities. As a member of the Banking Committee, I can guarantee that we will use this report as a resource to create strong legislation for an effective regulatory system that will help prevent a similar fraud from taking place in the future," said Senator Menendez.

To prevent this type of fraud from taking place again, Senator Menendez has called in the past for:

• An increased enforcement budget at the SEC, which was inadequately funded during the Bush Administration • Senate Finance Committee hearings on ways the federal government can help innocent victims of Ponzi schemes to recoup their losses through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) or other means • Enactment of the Improved Financial and Commodity Markets Oversight and Accountability Act, legislation Senator Menendez introduced on June 25th, 2009 (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=315148) to strengthen the Inspectors General at five key financial regulatory agencies: the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. The legislation would require Presidential appointments and Senate confirmation of the Inspectors General, who are currently appointed by the heads of the agencies they are supposed to investigate. The legislation also clarifies the subpoena powers of the Inspectors General so they can properly oversee the financial regulators and requires regulators to respond to deficiencies identified by the Inspectors General by either taking corrective action or explaining to Congress why they are not taking corrective action. Earlier this year, Senator Menendez also led efforts in the Senate to look into ways the thousands of investors who were victims of this scheme could be helped, and worked with the IRS to establish and issue clear guidance on how they should report their losses to receive proper tax relief. Read a copy of the letter Senator Menendez sent to the Honorable Douglas Shulman, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service here: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/02202009IRSMadoffLetter.pdf