Watchdogs in Action

Best performance as a regulator by someone who isn't one

When the feds stumbled over how to rein in Wall Street firms and restore investor confidence, New York State Attorney General ELIOT SPITZER stepped into the void. He dug up incriminating e-mails that shamed Wall Street and laid bare the conflicts of stock analysts. Now he's actually forcing financial firms to distribute independent research and to stop doling out IPO shares to favored executives.

Worst performance by a regulator who never should have been one

Once upon a time, maybe it made sense to name as Wall Street's watchdog a former industry lawyer who believed in self-regulation. But in a post-Enron world, HARVEY PITT quickly became an embarrassment. He appeared too chummy with accounting firms when the accounting scandals broke, met with Xerox Corp. CEO Anne M. Mulcahy while that company was under SEC investigation, and repeatedly demonstrated a poor grasp of Washington politics. He finally resigned on Nov. 5. This has to go down as the Bush Administration's worst hire, yet.

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