One year ago, on Aug. 3, Harvey L. Pitt was confirmed by the Senate as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and he has been playing catch-up ever since. In those intervening 12 months, scandals have erupted at an alphabet soup of companies–including WorldCom, Xerox, Global Crossing, Qwest Communications, Arthur Andersen, Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, KPMG, Adelphia, Halliburton and, of course, Enron. Pitt has also gotten himself into hot water, becoming as much a target as the executives his SEC investigators are scrutinizing. The charge against him? He is soft on corporate types whom he used to represent when he was a top-rung, highly compensated corporate lawyer. New York's Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who has been conducting his own inquiries into Wall Street hanky-panky, described the SEC as asleep at the wheel because of an "absolute void of leadership."

Meanwhile, the markets have shown no confidence in either Pitt's or the White House's efforts thus far: Since President George W. Bush announced his war on corporate miscreants in March, naming Pitt his commanding general, the S&P 500 has plunged 21%; the Dow Jones industrial average is off 18%; and the Nasdaq composite has fallen 27%. In the first half of July, the Dow dropped 635 points

in a six-day period in which Bush made two major speeches and Pitt appeared on television talk shows defending his performance. Already, there has been a chorus of calls for Pitt's resignation from prominent congressional Republicans and Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) and Republican maverick, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

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