The Bush family consistently demonstrates a character trait that is rare in Washington: loyalty. President Bush, like his father, is loyal to those who have been loyal to him.
Loyalty, though, is a two-way street. One of the definitions of loyal is "faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due." In the case of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt, the fidelity that is due him by the administration has expired. It's time for him to go. If he won't resign out of deference to the damage he has done to the president's integrity, he should be fired.
Pitt has had what the Wall Street Journal understatedly describes as a"bumpy rise" since his confirmation as SEC chairman in August, 2001. He has consistently appeared to be on the side of the big and powerful bottom-liners than in the small investors whose retirement accounts were threatened in the aftermath of 9/11, the stock market plunge and the cooked-books scandal of Enron, WorldCom and other companies.
Pitt's selection of former FBI Director William Webster to head a reform panel to lessen the likelihood of future accounting malfeasance was tainted when it became known that Webster served on the audit committee of U.S. Technologies, a Washington investment firm. While Webster was never accused of wrongdoing, he told Pitt, according to the New York Times, that the audit committee was part of a company that is being sued for possible fraud. Pitt kept Webster's association with the company, U.S. Technologies, a virtual secret until the SEC approved his nomination, which is another blot on the chairman and more fuel to his and the administration's critics.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said,"Just when you think Mr. Pitt's judgment can't get any worse, he surprises us." White House officials were quoted as being furious that Pitt had withheld information from chief of staff Andrew Card, who had urged Webster to take the job, and that they believe the independence of the SEC appears to have been compromised.
Pitt isn't the only problem in this administration. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is an even clearer and more present danger. Though Commissioner James Ziglar announced in August he is leaving by the end of the year, he should go now, and President Bush should order a complete transformation of the agency that regularly fails this country because of the people it lets in and can't find once they are admitted. While sleeper terrorist cells, said by both Republican and Democrat congressional leaders to be in this country, await instructions to kill us, Commissioner Ziglar and company continue to dither. While they do, even more illegal aliens enter the country, or stay here, and break our laws, which are not enforced.
My colleague Michelle Malkin has chronicled the recent history of INS disloyalty (to the law and to several presidents) in her book with the self-explanatory title:"Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores." The summation of the book on amazon.com says the"20th hijacker" on 9/11"was our very own government."
The book"reveals how our immigration authorities have granted citizenship or legal permanent residence to America-haters and brutal thugs. And it explains how misguided policies and overworked officials have encouraged criminals to enter our country, abuse our systems and attack our citizens."
The INS needs to be divided, with one part in charge of enforcing the law (Malkin says the INS has no idea how many visa violators are among us) and the other handling the day-to-day paperwork. We have let racial politics interfere with protecting the nation from those who want to kill us and undermine our government. The incident last week (that appeared to be politically coordinated and motivated to hurt Gov. Jeb Bush) of more than 200 Haitian boat people arriving to the welcoming arms of South Florida Democrats and activists lobbying against our laws and for the illegal aliens is a scene that should not be repeated.
President Bush has the power to change the leadership and direction of both the SEC and INS. If he won't do it, the new Congress should."Loyalty" is misplaced when it causes harm to the president and real damage to the country"public servants" are supposed to be serving.
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