Gary Ackerman's blast at SEC? Just theatrics from AIPAC loyalist who once took cash from Bernie Madoff.
Congressman Gary Ackerman's rip-snorting attack on the SEC for not catching Bernie Madoff's scam is good entertainment, but it's only bluster to impress his constituents who got took.
Still, it's not a bad dog-and-pony show from a congressman who used to take campaign contributions from Madoff, as federal records show.
Despite his spot as vice-chair of a subcommittee overseeing the SEC (which presupposes that he had an interest in Wall Street's functioning before he assumed that post), Ackerman showed practically no interest in the SEC's operations until the current Wall Street meltdown.
An examination of bills sponsored by the longtime but relatively low-ranking congressman reveals few measures relating to the SEC. Actually, I could find only one or two, and they were recent. (Please, Gary, correct me if I'm wrong.)
Who should really care what these House members say to the SEC? They're just posturing. The real can of whup-ass was opened yesterday by whistleblower Harry Markopolos.
Ackerman's own blistering attack on the sitting-duck SEC officials is easily explained: The congressman represents parts of Queens and Long Island, but he also represents conservative Jews across the country and in Israel as one of Jewish-hawk lobby AIPAC's most ardent loyalists. Madoff's scam deeply cut into that constituency of Ackerman's. Shouting "Shonda!" at the SEC should keep him in good stead with those folks.
He may not have been too active on the SEC front until recently, but Ackerman has over the years introduced a slew of bills at the behest of AIPAC and even the Israeli government.
Not to mention the fact (which I'll mention again) that, back in the '90s, Madoff himself (also a Democrat and ardent supporter of Israel's government) gave Ackerman $1,200 in campaign donations.
Known as a social-issues liberal but a firm friend of Israel's hawks, Ackerman did Israel's and AIPAC's bidding last May, as Ira Glunts noted last summer:
Ackerman's middling career in Congress has been dominated by his continual introduction of measures aggressively favorable to Israel. See the Jewish Daily Forward for a 2006 account of Ackerman's power as an extension of AIPAC in Congress. Too bad he wasn't focused more on the SEC back then.