David M. Becker

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David M. Becker
Occupation Attorney
Known for two-time SEC General Counsel; partner at Cleary Gottlieb

David M. Becker, now a partner at Cleary Gottlieb, was twice General Counsel and Senior Policy Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)[1]

Becker graduated from Columbia College (1968) and Columbia University Law School (1973), where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review.[2] He then was a law clerk for Judge Harold Leventhal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and a year later for Justice Stanley Reed of the U.S. Supreme Court.[2]

He served from January 2000 to May 2002 after joining the SEC staff as Deputy General Counsel in 1998, and again beginning in 2009.[1] He left the second time in 2011.[3]

SEC Inspector General H. David Kotz discovered that in spite of having a conflict of interest, Becker had worked on the investigation of the Madoff investment scandal. The Becker family had received a $2 million inheritance that had been invested in a Madoff account.[4] Kotz referred the matter to the U.S. Justice Department's criminal division.[4] Becker indicated that he had notified seven senior SEC officials about the account, including the Chairman and the SEC's ethics officer, and none suggested that he recuse himself.[4] Becker said:

I have seen Inspector General Kotz do this before, make a big fuss... about sending reports to the Justice Department. Nothing has happened in any of them, and some of them ... from my time at the SEC were laughable.[5]

The Justice Department declined to pursue the matter.[6][7]

Eventually then SEC chairwoman Mary Shapiro said about the incident "I wish that Mr. Becker had recused himself, absolutely."[8]

On September 22, 2011, Becker testified before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services and the TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about his role in advising the SEC related to the bankruptcy of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.[9]

He is now a partner at Cleary Gottlieb.[2]


  1. ^ a b "David M. Becker Named SEC General Counsel and Senior Policy Director". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP | Lawyers | David M. Becker". Cgsh.com. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "SEC General Counsel David Becker to Leave Commission". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Story, Louise; Morgenson, Gretchen (September 20, 2011). "S.E.C. Hid Its Lawyer's Madoff Ties". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Sarah N. Lynch, Carol Bishopric, and Tim Dobbyn (September 21, 2011). "Some lawmakers doubt ex-SEC lawyer broke the law". Reuters. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ Frankel, Alison. "Former SEC GC Becker gives $556k gift to Madoff investors". Reuters. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ Schmidt, Robert (November 3, 2011). "Justice Dept. Won't Probe Ex-SEC Official Becker, Lawyer Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ David S. Hilzenrath (May 9, 2011). "David Becker, former SEC official with Madoff problem, rejoins law firm". Washington Post. 
  9. ^ "Testimony of David M. Becker" (PDF). United States House of Representatives. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
Preceded by
SEC General Counsel
Succeeded by
Giovanni Prezioso
Preceded by
Andy Vollmer
SEC General Counsel
Succeeded by