Bloomberg should have pushed him harder on his Clinton-era hijinks, though. It allows him to merely say that his views have “evolved,” whatever that means.

Bloomberg also reports that he “bristles at the idea that he’s a recent convert to regulation.” But that’s backed up mostly by stuff that happened after 2000.

He helped former Senator Paul Sarbanes with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act toughening corporate governance and accounting rules, he said, and worked with Democratic Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts in the 1990s on strengthening consumer financial privacy protections.

He co-wrote a 2002 book, “The Great Mutual Fund Trap: An
Investment Recovery Plan,” that recommends index-fund investing
to avoid the “mistake of trusting the experts” who try to
outperform the market.

And the book mentioned in the second paragraph has nothing to do with regulation so it doesn’t support the case that he’s a longstanding regulator. Anyway, the important thing was holding him accountable for the 2000 bill and the derivatives debacle that followed.

With that caveat, a good one.

p.s.

Due to some snafu, the link above chopped off a few paragraphs at the end after the colorful quote “confirmation facilities” (hey, I said it was a good story; I didn’t say it was The Bourne Identity).

I’ve appended the missing paragraphs below, which includes the bit about his 2000 role and a nice, reassuring quote as the kicker:

“I don’t see myself going back to Wall Street,” he said. “That’s very liberating.”

Hey, for us, too.

The chopped-off part is here:

He’s had more success on the issue of transparency. When lobbyists sought to let dealers use “confirmation facilities” —existing electronic systems that produce trade-confirmation reports — rather than forcing transactions onto exchanges, Gensler told lawmakers that that wouldn’t be transparent to regulators or the public. The words were removed from the House bill.

Details Matter

Fighting over words is important because a couple of vague
ones can undermine the bill, Gensler said. “I’m always up there
to persuade,” he said. “In terms of the ultimate legislation,
the detail really matters.”
“The more transparent a marketplace is, the more
competitive it is,” he said in a Jan. 29 speech to an American
Bar Association conference in Naples, Florida. “And the more
transparent a marketplace is, the lower the costs for hedgers,
borrowers, and ultimately, their customers.”
Gensler’s campaign goes beyond what the Obama
administration requested in its August plan for an overhaul of
financial regulation. In a letter to House and Senate committee
leaders sent six days after Obama’s plan was released, Gensler
called for fewer exemptions than Obama would allow.

Views ‘Evolved’

His views on financial regulation have “evolved” since he
was with Treasury, in part because the financial turmoil exposed
a lack of transparency in the market, he said.
Still, Gensler bristles at the idea that he’s a recent
convert to regulation. He helped former Senator Paul Sarbanes
with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act toughening corporate governance
and accounting rules, he said, and worked with Democratic
Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts in the 1990s on
strengthening consumer financial privacy protections.
He co-wrote a 2002 book, “The Great Mutual Fund Trap: An
Investment Recovery Plan,” that recommends index-fund investing
to avoid the “mistake of trusting the experts” who try to
outperform the market. One of those experts is Gensler’s
identical twin brother, Robert, a portfolio manager at
Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Group Inc.
Gensler had at least $15.5 million in stocks, bonds and
index funds, according to a 2008 financial disclosure form filed
with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He can take on the
banks, he said, because they are part of his past, not his
future.
“I don’t see myself going back to Wall Street,” he said.
“That’s very liberating.”

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.