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.)
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!