NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Honestly, I didn't spend much time looking into the details of the insider trading case the SEC lodged and lost against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Like most investors, I don't care much for government lawyers using celebrities such as Cuban, or Martha Stewart for that matter, to make a name for themselves and their agency.
These star trials and insider-trading wild goose chases take the focus off of material wrongdoing the SEC should be most concerned with. But, clearly, if we believe the things Cuban tweeted Thursday night, this agency simply doesn't get it. If nothing else, they're reckless and misguided at a time when government figures should be anything but.
From an SEC'er to an observer of my trial as they sat next to each other..."I want to smack the happy off Mark Cuban's face"— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 18, 2013
From the same SEC'er - We generate more revenue for the gov than any other agency. We will send as many bodies as we need.— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 18, 2013
That Awkward Moment when you see in a search that the SEC attorney working your trial is posting about it on Facebook and calls it "surreal"— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 18, 2013Recall an article I published in July: Why is the SEC Silent on Microsoft? I questioned the agency's silence on Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer's actions regarding Surface tablet sales. Of course, the conduct the SEC should have looked at goes beyond Ballmer. It was a companywide thing, but he's the guy at the helm:
In July 2012, Ballmer indicated Microsoft would sell a few million tablets within the year. In November 2012, Ballmer told MSFT shareholders about "a sea of upside" for Microsoft in the tablet market. In January 2013, UBS reported dismal surface sales, but a Microsoft spokesperson said:
"We're pleased with the strong customer reception of Surface ... We've recently increased production and expanded distribution to additional retailer partners given the growing demand. We look forward to more customers getting hands-on time with the product as we continue to expand its availability in the coming months."Shortly after, of course, Microsoft writes down nearly a billion dollars' worth of Surface tablets. And, shortly after my article, Ballmer announces he'll step down as Microsoft CEO. See the above-linked article for the proper citations and a bit more context. Ultimately, I'm not saying Ballmer did anything wrong, at least when you consider how the SEC protects guys like him and the public companies they run with "safe harbor" disclaimers in relation to "forward-looking statements." But I am saying stop wasting your time chasing guys like Cuban who do a heck of a lot more good than bad for the market. And start looking at tweaks to laws to hold executives accountable for potentially misleading investors. Follow @rocco_thestreet --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
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