November 5, 2009, was a good day for the Securities and Exchange Commission. At a press conference with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, new SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami announced that his agency was bringing civil charges against 13 people associated with the Galleon Group insider trading scandal. In the post-Madoff era, it was a chance for the SEC to show that it is back on the beat aggressively policing the securities markets. And it was an opportunity for Khuzami, who can mix financial crime gravitas with Jon Stewart–age ironical detachment, to set a different tone.

“There should be a moment–hopefully before you’re holding a bag of cash delivered to you by somebody code-named ‘the Octopussy’–that causes anyone in a position to tip or trade on inside information to think twice before taking such a misguided step,” Khuzami said in his prepared remarks. “And if you find yourself chewing the memory card in your cell phone to destroy any record of your misconduct, something has gone terribly wrong with your character.”

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