Tags: Conservatives | Attack | Another | Bush | Appointment

Conservatives Attack Another Bush Appointment

Wednesday, 23 May 2001 12:00 AM

Bush nominated Pitt, a Washington lawyer who once defended insider trader Ivan Boesky, to the SEC post last week. He served as general counsel of the SEC from 1975 to 1978, and he was chief counsel of the agency's market regulation division.

The Traditional Values Coalition, the largest non-denominational, grassroots church lobby in the nation, believes that a few years ago Pitt represented the interests of what it called a "pornography empire."

TVC Chairman the Rev. Lou Sheldon said, "Pitt's nomination reminds me of the recent choices of former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci to be our Canadian Ambassador and homosexual activist Scott Evertz to be White House AIDS czar."

He called the Cellucci and Evertz appointment "unfortunate choices," but said it is not too late for the White House to "look elsewhere" for the nation's next SEC chairman.

Sheldon's comments were included in a "letter of concern" to the president about the Pitt nomination.

"We expressed our concern about Pitt after learning that in 1999 he had done legal work for the New Frontier Media Company," Sheldon said in a written statement.

"Pitt has helped New Frontier overcome a problem with the NASDAQ over two stock sales. Pitt's aid to this pornography company helped it keep its listing on the NASDAQ," he said.

New Frontier Media, according to Sheldon, "is a purveyor of sexually explicit filth that is piped into homes through its three cable services: Pleasure, TeN, and Extasy."

He added, "This company also operates Igallery.com, an Internet company that hosts such sites as "Teen Sex," "Cafe Flesh," and two other sites with names describing oral sex and women's sex organs."

New Frontier Media did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The Senate must confirm his nomination. If confirmed, he would serve until 2003. Pitt's nomination has received some support on Capitol Hill.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-Texas) called Pitt "one of the premier securities lawyers in the country.

"He has a detailed knowledge of our securities regulations and markets. I look forward to working with him and anticipate prompt consideration of his nomination by the Banking Committee," Gramm said.

Gramm's committee must approve Pitt's nomination before it goes to the full Senate.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) also praised the Bush's nomination of Pitt.

"I trust Harvey Pitt will be an active partner with Congress in reforming outdated securities law, protecting individual investors, and ensuring that the SEC is operating at maximum efficiency and fulfilling the intent of Congress," Oxley said.

"President Bush is to be commended for his thoughtful consideration of the post and for this promising choice," he added.

If confirmed, Pitt would replace Laura Unger, who was named acting chairwoman in February when Clinton nominee Arthur Levitt left the chairmanship.

Unger, the only Republican SEC commissioner, would remain as a commission member.

In private law practice at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, Pitt's clients have included Boesky, whose admission to the SEC rocked Wall Street in the 1980s and helped topple junk-bond financier Michael Milken.

Peter Cobb, managing partner of Pitt's law firm was pleased with his nomination.

"We congratulate Harvey on this tremendous honor for both himself and the firm, and we wish him the best of luck as the nomination process moves forward," Cobb said in a statement from the firm's offices in New York.

"Harvey's prospective nomination as chairman will be a testament to his enormous talent and deep commitment to the practice, study and enforcement of the federal securities laws," he said.

Cobb added, "We are thrilled for Harvey. We will miss him both professionally and personally. We are grateful for his successful efforts over the past 23 years in building what is now one of the country's most vigorous and substantial securities law practices."

Pitt, according to a spokesperson at his firm, is refusing news interviews at this time.

(C)

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Bush nominated Pitt, a Washington lawyer who once defended insider trader Ivan Boesky, to the SEC post last week. He served as general counsel of the SEC from 1975 to 1978, and he was chief counsel of the agency's market regulation division. The Traditional Values...
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2001-00-23
Wednesday, 23 May 2001 12:00 AM
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