A bill that would sharply limit the power of state securities regulators to police and penalize wrongdoing by brokerage firms and their employees was approved by a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee yesterday.
It now moves on to debate by the full committee.
The bill ... was introduced in May by Richard H. Baker, Republican of Louisiana. It bars state securities regulators from creating rules for brokerage firms that differ from those established by the Securities and Exchange Commission or self-regulatory organizations like the New York Stock Exchange. If the bill had been law in 2002, for example, it would have prevented Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general, from pursuing the changes on Wall Street that resulted from his investigation into analyst conflicts.
If passed, the bill would prevent states from imposing rules on the disclosures that brokerage firms make about the investments they sell. The measure would also prohibit state regulators from instituting conflict of interest requirements on brokerage firms, like those relating to stock analysts that 10 large securities firms agreed to last December when they settled with regulators and paid $1.4 billion in penalties and fines....
--from yesterday's New York Times
Now, here's what the bill is called: the Securities Fraud Deterrence and Investor Restitution Act of 2003. Look, I know the word "Orwellian" is overused, but if you can't call that "Orwellian," then the word has no meaning.