Revolving Elites: The Unexplored Risk of Capturing the SEC
Citation: 107 Geo L.J. (2019)
Fears have abounded for years that the sweet spot for capture of regulatory agencies is the “revolving door” whereby civil servants migrate from their roles as regulators to private industry. Recent scholarship on this topic has examined whether America’s watchdog for securities markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is hobbled by the long-standing practices of its enforcement staff exiting their jobs at the Commission and migrating to lucrative private sector employment where they represent those they once regulated. The research to date has been inconclusive on whether staff revolving door practices have weakened the SEC’s verve. In this Article, we offer a different perspective on the source of risks of the SEC’s capture as a consequence of revolving door practices. We focus on all the key divisions of the SEC, not just its Division of Enforcement, and we examine the individuals who lead the staff and set its agenda.