It could be round two for Gary Ackerman and the SEC.
In 2009, video of Ackerman scolding Securities Exchange Commission lawyer Andy Vollmer as Vollmer testified before the House Committee on Financial Services, of which Ackerman was a member, made the internet rounds. Vollmer was testifying about the SEC’s failure to investigate Bernie Madoff. In front of the committee, Vollmer claimed “executive privilege,” and refused to answer questions.
“Your value to the American people is worthless,” Ackerman said of Vollmer at the time. Days later, Vollmer was fired by the SEC.
Now, a new SEC lawyer with ties to Madoff is in the hot seat. David M. Becker, Vollmer’s replacement, was set to answer questions from Ackerman on Friday, the Daily News reported.
“Something has to be done,” Ackerman told the News. “We have to have some regulations in place where they have to publicly disclose this sort of thing. It was common sense.”
Becker is targeted as part of the “claw back” campaign being run by Irving H. Picard, a trustee in charge of recovering money from the net winners in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The SEC general counsel, along with his two brothers Daniel and William, is alleged to have liquidated his dead mother’s Madoff funds in order to see a profit—something Ackerman says the trio did not make public.
But while Ackerman’s actions may seem heroic in appearance, now—as before—his motives look to be at least partially politically motivated.
Ackerman’s district contains some of the most affluent parts of Queens and Long Island. Nassau County itself was one of the richest in the country at the time, and NY-5 made up a good chunk of the victims affected by Madoff, including 600 people in Great Neck alone, the Voice reported in 2009. (Who knows: maybe Nassau’s recent economic woes can be traced back to Bernie.)
Anyway, since we haven’t yet heard the details of Ackerman’s most recent condemnation—or whether it even happened—you’ll have to settle for this rerun.