- Revealing the Strings: High-ranking SEC official, Hinman, allegedly violated the ethics protocols despite stringent regulations on impropriety.
- Clayton’s Controversial Move: Questions arise after former SEC chairman’s immediate employment by a hedge fund post an influential lawsuit.
The Ethical Dilemma at the SEC
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has always held its officials to the highest standards of conduct. Respected SEC Officials, like @Marc_Fagel, have always endeavored to eliminate even the slightest whiff of conflicts of interest. Their commitment is evidenced by strategies like exclusively owning stocks via a 401K, curated by independent financial experts.
There have been honorable SEC Officials like @Marc_Fagel who eliminated potential appearances of impropriety, or conflicts of interest, by not owning individual stocks, crypto, or other commodities, only owning stocks through a 401K, chosen by an independent financial… https://t.co/4JHPjBECaj pic.twitter.com/r4QJDW73MT
— John E Deaton (@JohnEDeaton1) August 24, 2023
However, not all seem to tread this path of righteousness, especially those at coveted Senior positions – Director, Commissioner, or Chairman. These conflicts are not trivial; 18 USC 208, the financial criminal conflict bar, explicitly states that even the “appearance of impropriety” can be criminally prosecuted. This barometer indicates the weightage given to maintain public trust. When the populace loses faith in their financial watchdog, it’s not merely a dent in reputation; it signifies systemic failure.
Enter the scene: Hinman. Contrary to the Ethics Department’s explicit directions, Hinman, an active profit-sharing partner at Simpson Thacher, continued to liaise with his partners. This connection wasn’t just a friendly reunion; it coincided with the time when Simpson Thacher had significant dealings pending with the SEC division Hinman was overseeing.
Hinman’s association raises eyebrows for various reasons:
- His direct violations, evidenced by SEC emails which they initially hesitated to release until legal action from @EMPOWR_us.
- His continued engagements with Chris Lin, a partner from Simpson Thacher’s China office, on days crucial to both their interests.
- Financial gains from Canaan’s IPO, a company that benefitted from Hinman’s public statements, while he was still at SEC.
- Immense profits from Alibaba’s IPO, where Hinman and Jay Clayton were beneficiaries.
#TBThursday – Still an open question. Why wasn't it appropriate to investigate Jay Clayton's financial interests when he filed the XRP lawsuit on his last day then immediately was hired by a hedge fund that made a $1B bet on rival tokens three months earlier? https://t.co/XOm3Wi1YAp
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— CryptoLaw (@CryptoLawUS) August 24, 2023
The plot thickens when one considers Simpson Thacher’s affiliation with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, accentuating Hinman’s repeated violations.
However, Hinman isn’t the only figure under scrutiny. Jay Clayton’s actions post his term at the SEC have raised questions. After presiding over the Ripple case, Clayton took up a position at One River, a hedge fund that had a significant stake in rival tokens. The proximity of these events raises unavoidable questions about potential conflicts.
The narrative becomes murkier with revelations around Clayton’s engagements with influential entities in the crypto space and subsequent actions benefitting these parties.
The revelations have rightfully caused a stir, raising concerns about the sanctity and trustworthiness of financial governance in the U.S.
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