June 11, 2010

Monitor Use in Prosecution Agreements: DOJ Adds to Morford Memo Guidance

On May 25th, the DOJ’s Acting Deputy Attorney General, Gary Grindler, sent around this memo requesting that federal prosecutors to be more clear on what help they can offer companies having issues with corporate monitors assigned to them under federal prosecution agreements. The memo states that if a company considers a monitor recommendation “unduly burdensome, impractical, unduly expensive, or otherwise inadvisable,” it need not adopt the recommendation immediately. In addition, if the company and monitor disagree on the recommendation, “the views of both shall promptly be brought to the attention of the department.”

The SEC as a Republican Target: Potshots Galore

Last month, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-Ca) released a 33-page report which recommends a number of SEC reforms not included in the financial reform legislation being considered by Congress (see pages 29-31). Given the tight timeline that Congress has for bill reconciliation, I doubt this report will have much influence. But the bulk of the report is not pretty for the SEC as it consists of a series of potshots taken at the SEC – in fact, the report’s title is “The SEC: Designed for Failure.”

In a way, the rebuttal would be that the SEC hasn’t had adequate resources for it’s massive tasks – and that Congress has been the one holding it back. See Lynn Turner’s excellent entry on our “The Mentor Blog” entitled “A Self-Funded SEC: Making the Case” from earlier this week…

The US Citizenship Ceremony: An Emotional Experience

I thought I’d share my recent experience of attending the US citizenship ceremony for my good friend Deng Juac. Deng is a 22-year whom the United Nations brought over here about six years ago from a Kenyan refugee camp (after his dad carried him on his back across a desert from Sudan to save his life when he was 11). My family has been involved in sheltering Deng and helping him through school for the past few years. He truly is a gentle soul.

Recently, Deng received his naturalization certificate and became a US citizen. As you can imagine, this is a big deal for immigrants. At the risk of being verbose, here is a play-by-play of Deng’s citizenship ceremony – some of it was quite emotional despite its bureaucratic nature:

1. Security at the federal immigration building is much tighter than any other federal building I have been in. There is a long line out the door at all times – and security is tight within as well. No wandering the halls.

2. After Deng turned in his green card (which had an incorrect name that they gave him when he arrived 6 years ago, “Juac Juac”), we waited as 10 folks at a time were brought upstairs. After some explanatory remarks, there was a rollcall of countries represented by the folks to be sworn in. It was quite a diverse group including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. Here is a video of that.

3. We listened to a recording of the Star-Spangled Banner and then we sang the Pledge of Allegiance.

4. Then came the swearing-in ceremony which officially gets you into the “club” – here is the first-half video and here is the second half.

5. We then watched a “welcome” video from President Obama that was great (my dad says he has attended citizen ceremonies in the past and the sitting President didn’t bother to do this). This was followed by a short presentation that showed past ceremonies.

6. Then came the presentation of the naturalization certificates – the photo-op that took a while as each new citizen got their photo taken with the Section Head of the immigration office we were in. Here is a video of a Iranian who need a translator – we’re talking “old country” here. And here is a video of Deng with one of his priceless smiles.

– Broc Romanek