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'Peekaboo' Prosecutions: How a Private Corporation Is Acting as a Govt-Backed Star Chamber

Imagine a world where Congress empowers a private corporation to secretly investigate and punish members of a particular industry. Enter the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) — often derided as “peekaboo” due to its acronym and infamous secrecy. This private version of the Securities and Exchange Commission receives funding that never requires an appropriation from Congress and employs personnel who are exempt from laws designed to keep regulators in check.

This private regulator’s activity is secretly performed by staff employees with no meaningful supervision by any president-appointed government official. There is no jury and no multi-member hearing panel that includes your industry peers.

NCLA Senior Litigation Associate Russ Ryan will moderate a panel of distinguished experts to discuss the myriad problems posed by such an obviously unconstitutional private enforcement mechanism, as well as what must be done to restore our fundamental civil liberties.

About our Panel

Mike Carvin, a partner at Jones Day, is one of the leading appellate and trial lawyers challenging state and federal regulations on constitutional and statutory grounds, with 11 Supreme Court arguments and numerous high-profile victories, including Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB, in which the Supreme Court that held the PCAOB unconstitutional on account of the board members being improperly insulated from Presidential removal authority.

Andrew Vollmer, a senior affiliated scholar at the Mercatus Center, was the deputy general counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission from 2006 to early 2009 as well as serving for many years as a partner in the securities litigation and enforcement practice of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.