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Securities Law

SEC Inspector General Hits $120K in Payments to Law Prof Heading ‘Office of Smart People’

Posted Sep 26, 2011 12:35 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Securities and Exchange Commission is under fire by its inspector general for paying $120,000 in living expenses to a law professor when he headed an SEC division known as the “Office of Smart People.”

SEC Inspector General David Kotz says the agency failed to follow federal guidelines when it made the payments, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. The money reimbursed expenses incurred by Henry Hu, a law professor at the University of Texas in Austin, while he ran the SEC’s Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation Division. Hu began to oversee the new division in September 2009 and left in January 2011; the division's purpose was to “break down silos that compartmentalized the SEC's institutional expertise,” according to a press release.

Hu’s office was in Washington, D.C., but he was hired as if he were located in Texas, the story says. As a result, he was eligible for per diem payments ranging from $229 to $273, apartment rent and flights to Austin. The $120,000 was paid in addition to his salary of $314,000 paid under an arrangement with the university.

Hu declined to comment when reached by the ABA Journal.

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