Bill Galvin to the SEC?

1221849633It’s a beautiful day in America, no? Public money continues to rain down like manna from heaven on Wall Street (yay, capitalism!) now aiding $2 trillion of once-ironclad money market funds. Thankfully, John McCain has found the solution: fire SEC Commission Chairman Chris Cox. Problem is, he can’t.

Still, stronger regulation of financial company excess is on order in Washington these days, and the next president might look to bring a man like Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin into the administration. His ballyhooed recent settlements with the likes of Merrill Lynch, UBS and Bank of America have made him a national figure of strength second only to hockey moms, and some people are already talking about his future in D.C.

Tamar Frankel, professor of law at Boston University, thinks Galvin might be a good choice for an SEC commission, a spot as a banking regulator, or a position in the Justice Department. “We have an enormously powerful and large financial system and it does have a regulatory system on top of it. And [Galvin] can fit, I think, in any of this,” says Frankel.

Grooming a national persona, the secretary launched a website last month, ostensibly to inform the citizenry of his victories against the auction-rate securities manipulations of financial America. But that’s not all it has.

A simulated letter complete with digital replica signature greets visitors. Galvin’s tight-lipped, officious half-smile sits atop the page. And nearer the bottom, devotees can hear the sage himself speak in a clip from CNBC where he discusses UBS’s monstrous $19.4 billion settlement. This is Galvin on the national stage, ready for his closeup.

Sponsoring the site is the Bill Galvin Campaign Committee, a fund Galvin continually solicits for on his personal website. A jaded observer would assume the secretary is in the middle of a campaign, but that observer would be wrong. Galvin isn’t up for reelection until 2010, and the site will probably be gone by then; this information won’t be of much use after early next year. But, by then, Galvin might be gone, too.

Brian McNiff refuses to indulge in this speculation. The secretary’s spokesman says he doesn’t know of any higher aspirations that Galvin might have. “[Galvin’s] very concerned with protecting the rights of investors and making sure that the financial companies follow the laws of Massachusetts,” McNiff says.

But just yesterday Galvin stepped onto the national stage once more, testifying in front of the House Financial Services Committee as a witness in a hearing dealing with the auction-rate securities debacle. Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the committee, perhaps tellingly touted Galvin as “a real leader in efforts to provide protection.”


Image of Galvin testifying before the House Committee on Financial Services