Due process is supposed to mean you can’t destroy someone until they have actually been found guilty of something

Leon Cooperman is a lighting rod for the loathed “hedge fund manager” and the vilified “1%”. To some, that means he should be waterboarded before his hanging. To others, he symbolizes the reason that the American financial system was once the envy of the world. Either way, it’s hard to imagine a more politically charged target than Leon Cooperman.

Maybe he is guilty. Maybe he is innocent. But the government wants to destroy him either way. And in the current scheme, there is virtually no limit on what the SEC can say and do to him as part of its “investigation.” I simply can’t overstate the case: The SEC is supposed to be in the fairness and honesty business, not in the win-at-all-costs prosecution business. The SEC has its own lawyers and its own judges; it handles its own appeals. That basically means that it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, to whomever it wants. Most prosecutors have checks and balances that prevent them from using every tactic they can dream up, but not the SEC. (The Justice Department is also involved in this one. We’ll see if it behaves any better. My bet is that he never recovers.)

Leon Cooperman on the Awesome Destructive Power of the SEC

The whole point of America is that there must be limits on the power of government, especially when it comes to using its power to investigate, prosecute and punish people for alleged wrongdoing.

Remember this: It doesn’t matter whether or not you like Leon Cooperman. Constitutional rights have no meaning if we aren’t willing to extend them to people we don’t like!

Author: Eric D. Wanger

Eric has nearly 30 years of experience as a creative and entrepreneurial professional in roles ranging from general management, team leadership and project management to technical rolls in IT, software development financial services and law. He has run business units, managed teams and delivered projects for established global enterprises and as the founder of a number of startups. Over his nearly 30 years at work, his job titles have included Board Member (public, private and non-profit), President, Founder, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Research, Chief Investment Officer, Fund Manager, Software Developer, Securities Analyst, Web Designer, Systems Integrator, Investment Advisor, Fundraiser, Consultant and Attorney. As a software consultant, cloud based, mobile app software as a consultant to one of the world’s leading electronic medical records companies (Cerner). As Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research for a startup financial services firm (Wanger OmniWealth, LLC), he developed a proprietary, risk-based holistic reporting platform for wealthy families and a set of allocation models based on it. He has developed automated trading systems for equity and equity ETF's. Between 2002 and 2013, Eric served as a portfolio manager of the Long Term Opportunity fund (small/micro-cap equities), the Alternative Fixed Income Fund (blend of exchange traded and privately negotiated debt) and as the strategist and founder (with Ralph Wanger) for the Income and Growth Fund (multi-asset class dividend strategy). Eric was a senior investment analyst at Barrington Research Associates (Chicago) covering technology and business services. Prior to that, Eric was a software, communications, and technology analyst for the Edgewater Funds, a private equity/venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management. Before joining Edgewater funds in 2000, Eric worked in Silicon Valley providing consulting, training, and software development to early-¬stage firms. Between 1991 and 1996, Eric was a principal consultant at EDW, Ltd, a firm he founded to provide software development, training in rapid software development techniques (NeXT), and systems interoperability consulting services for large multi-vendor and distributed computer networks. EDW's clients included such companies as Fannie Mae, MCI, Swiss Bank Corp (UBS), Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Apple Computer, Stanford University, and The Acorn Funds. Eric received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and is a member of the California Bar. He was co-founder and managing editor of the Stanford Technology Law Review. Eric was awarded a National Merit Scholarship in 1981. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-¬Champaign and received a Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2005. Eric lives in Chicago with his three children and a fat English Labrador retriever named Casper. He enjoys classical and jazz piano, hiking and aviation. He is an instrument rated pilot. Eric serves as a trustee for the Acorn Foundation and is active at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

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