Obama calls for tougher rules on financial fraud

In his third annual State of the Union address, President Barack Obama put Wall Street and consumer protection on center stage. One of the proposals to emerge from the 90 minute speech was to strengthen the hand of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to fight financial fraud and to create a special task force to prosecute large-scale financial abuses.

According to the New York Times, it remains unclear how these initiatives differ from similar efforts proposed by the Obama administration in 2009. However, it may not matter how different they are considering the election-year politics that are certain to define the agenda in Congress.

A 2011 analysis by the New York Times of S.E.C. enforcement actions over the last 15 years, found at least 51 cases in which the S.E.C. concluded that Wall Street firms had broken antifraud laws that, as part of settlements of earlier fraud cases, they had pledged never to breach.


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