The Securities and Exchange Commission’s image has certainly taken a beating recently, what with the discovery that the Bernard Madoff scandal festered under the agency’s nose for years, the humiliating rejection of the agency’s proposed $33 million settlement with Bank of America and a general feeling by the investing public that the SEC has failed to look out for its interests.

But, just in the time for the holidays, the beleaguered agency offered a bit of bright news. Last week it announced that, for the first time, it has distributed more than $2 billion in a calendar year to injured investors as a result of its enforcement actions and proceedings.

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