Although the self-righteous politicians in the nation's swamp condemn the S.E.C. for failing to uncover Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, the unfortunate reality is that regulatory and law enforcement agencies are loath to investigate the politically connected, and it appears that Madoff had bought himself plenty of protection:
Bernie Madoff, whose $50 billion Ponzi scheme is the biggest purported fraud in history, reportedly out thousands of dollars to lawmakers in Congress. Fox 5 New York reported last night that Sen. Charles Schumer tops the donor list of Madoff and his family, at $29,300. Schumer's office said it had donated $8,000 of the stash to police and fire endowments. Others who got donations from Madoff or his family were Democratic NJ Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who got $11,600; Hillary Rodham Clinton, who got nearly $9,000 for her Senate and presidential campaigns; disgraced former Republican Rep. Vito Fossella and Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who both collected $3,000; and Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, who received $2,000.
You don't think campaign contributions can buy a politician to run interference? The Fox 5 story states:
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing or quid pro quo, but the revelation of the donations raises questions about what influence in Congress may or may not buy. At least one former SEC accountant says that members of Congress have in the past pressured the commission to be a "kinder, gentler cop" with its inspections of Wall Street broker-dealers.
Moreover, Rep. Rangel -- one of those recieving Madoff funds -- attempted to derail the federal racketeering prosecution of plaintiff class action law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP with the help of some of his friends on the Hill. Although the Congressman's efforts ultimately were unsuccessful -- several of the firm's partners were convicted on felony charges and the firm itself paid a $75 million fine -- the case demonstrates the extent to which elected politicians will interfere with the orderly administration of justice to protect their campaign donors. Curiously, Mel Weiss, one of the convicted partners, was an investor in the Madoff funds.