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Harvey Pitt had a tough run as SEC chief. From the very first day of his appointment, his critics called him a walking conflict of interest — a high-powered corporate lawyer regulating the same companies who were once his clients. It won’t be easy for George W. Bush to find a replacement. Republicans will be seeking a Potemkin commissioner — someone who appears committed to cracking down on corporate fraud, but who will know better than to jail big-time campaign contributors. Democrats will scream that the new commissioner is too soft even if every CEO in the nation is locked up. With these challenges in mind, The Recorder hereby offers its own suggestions for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s top job: Arnold Schwarzenegger: Riding the success of his after-school funding ballot initiative, Schwarzenegger could use a high-profile springboard for his gubernatorial ambitions. And who better to symbolize a get-tough approach to corporate fraud? Hasta la vista, CEOs. Bob Kochly: The new Contra Costa County DA has proven his mettle for bruising political battles. In light of his last-minute hit pieces against rival Michael Menesini, it’s clear Kochly has a gift for public humiliation. Imagine Bernie Ebbers or John Rigas, through the magic of Photo Shop, depicted as hardened felons or flouncy lounge singers. Talk about deterrence! And since the oil industry loves Kochly, Bush would love Kochly. Judge Bruce Van Voorhis: Anybody overstates earnings, they get a severe tongue-lashing from the intimidating Contra Costa County jurist. As with jurors, many corporate crooks would prefer to quit than endure the abuse. Malcolm Wittenberg: What’s a little insider trading between friends? If the accounting scandal-tainted William Webster could be a candidate for the accounting oversight board, why can’t an insider-trading corporate lawyer head up the SEC? Remember, he has dedicated his life to public service. Michael Milken: Let’s think outside the box. Who understands the mind of a corporate criminal better than Milken? If the nation can forgive its commander-in-chief a minor DUI indiscretion, certainly it could forgive its SEC chief a little junk bond chicanery. Chuck Quackenbush: If WorldCom, Enron and other corporate crooks were to donate their tainted billions to a nonprofit foundation whose work coincidentally included promoting Quackenbush’s political career, all would be forgiven. William Lerach: Just kidding, CEOs, just kidding. You can get back in your chairs now. Bill Simon: He ran his campaign for governor about as effectively as Pitt ran the SEC. State Bar President James Herman or Executive Director Judy Johnson: Under their reign, small-cap companies that violate securities regulations would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The big caps would be left to police themselves. Tower Snow Jr.: He’s been at Clifford Chance for six months now, so he’s probably ready for a new challenge. And SEC lawyers would never have to worry about being laid off. Mary Cranston: The SEC typically announces favorable dispositions in press releases. Need we say more? Former S.F. Planning Commissioner Hector Chinchilla: So what if he collects legal consulting fees from the corporations the SEC is investigating, just so long as he recuses himself from the case. Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris: Who better for the job of making widespread fraud disappear?

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