Veteran Warrior Arthur Levitt Still an Upender of Wall Street

NEW YORK (The Street) -- Arthur Levitt, no fan of blood sports -- although he did work on Wall Street -- packs a powerful jab.

In one of his many rapid-fire tweets, the longest-serving chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission pounded the inequality of professional boxing which grinds to a pulp good guys -- the heroes in the ring -- while enriching the less than savory outside the arena.

"Boxing should be banned in NY until gov appoints new commission," he fumed in one of his 140-character posts. "Friday fight disgrace with boxer in coma. Dr and ref negligent. This [is] legal murder."

In other tweets, Levitt reserved punches for his old employer, the SEC, which has failed to use industry-standard tracking methods in monitoring employee trades.

"SEC staffers should have [stock] trades reported in direct feeds of brokerage data," he wrote. "Reform [is] overdue." The agency standards should be "at least as rigorous" as those in banking and brokerage firms, he told The Wall Street Journal.

A few days earlier the old warrior -- dapper and lean, but pushing 83 -- unsparingly knocked a deal that would reunite audit giant PricewaterhouseCoopers with lucrative consulting service Booz & Co., a business that had been spun off in the wake of the Enron debacle.

"We're slipping back," he told Bloomberg News. "As the accounting professional becomes more committed to consulting, their audit activities have got to be questioned." 

The former drama critic (The Berkshire Eagle) and newspaper publisher (Roll Call) respects words -- the shorter and clearer the better. (Disclosure: I served briefly as his editor.)

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