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GAO asked to investigate SEC enforcement division after fines plummet

[JURIST] US senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) [official website] to investigate the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] after learning that the number of fines ordered by the SEC dropped by more than half [Bloomberg report] from fiscal year 2006 to 2007, Reed said Tuesday. The GAO issued an initial report [PDF text] on the fines plummet in November after Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) [official website] requested an investigation, and a Tuesday GAO report [PDF text; summary] found that problems named in the November report regarding the SEC's internal controls had gone largely unaddressed. The Financial Times has more.

The structure of the SEC has lately become somewhat uncertain in light of current market struggles and the US Treasury's newly proposed Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory Structure [PDF text; JURIST report], which contemplates the eventual merger of the agency with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) [official website].

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