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Jonathan Weil

The Best SEC Speech Ever

What's wrong with the Securities and Exchange Commission? A retiring SEC trial attorney used his going-away speech to explain.
Securities and Exchange Commissioner Mary Jo White during her confirmation hearing in March 2013. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Securities and Exchange Commissioner Mary Jo White during her confirmation hearing in March 2013. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Before today, I had never heard of Jim Kidney. And I certainly hope this isn't the last time I do.

Kidney, a longtime trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission, delivered a barnburner of a going-away speech at his retirement party last month, which has only just begun to make the rounds publicly. Thanks to the union that represents the agency's employees, everyone can now read the whole thing. After a career in the SEC's enforcement division that began in 1986, Kidney, 66, was gracious, polite and full of good humor. And for the most part he didn't name names. But sometimes it wasn't hard to figure out whom he was talking about.