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The Mikado explains his ambition of letting the punishment fit the crime in Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic work. The Mikado’s song could be the new theme song of the Securities and Exchange Commission, if dissenting commissioners prevail. The debate over a “one size fits all” penalty for misconduct is at the heart of what defines “upon showing good cause” and waivers for even misconduct by “bad actors” trading certain securities. Some commissioners feel that recent punishments are not tailored to the violation but instead treat every transgression equally.


1. More specifically, what issue has been nagging the S.E.C. for the last year? Explain in one paragraph.
2. Explain the SEC’s financial crimes enforcement against Oppenheimer.
3. Oppenheimer has been the subject of how many regulatory violation actions? What are some of these for?
4. Do you believe that prohibiting waiver grants to “bad actors” allows the S.E.C. to fit the punishment to the crime? Why or why not?

Henning, Peter (2015). The S.E.C.’s Hazy Approach to Crime and Punishment. The New York Times, Feb. 9 (Retrievable online at