WASHINGTON Feb 21 The annual "SEC Speaks"
conference is usually a sea of dark business suits, as
buttoned-down lawyers descend on Washington to hear U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission regulators describe their
This year, a man in a gray hoodie stuck out in the crowd.
The man was Dallas Mavericks basketball team owner and
outspoken billionaire Mark Cuban. In October, he beat the SEC in
a high-profile insider-trading case against him.
Since then, Cuban has remained fixated on the happenings at
He is buying up the transcripts from every SEC trial and
posting commentary about them on his blog, Blog Maverick. He has
also not been shy about criticizing by name the SEC lawyers who
tried his case.
Throughout Friday's conference, hosted by the Pracitising
Law Institute, Cuban sat in the back of the large auditorium,
lighting up the Twitter-sphere with lively commentary about
speeches from top SEC officials.
His first victim? SEC Chair Mary Jo White, who described the
SEC's "vigorous and comprehensive enforcement of our securities
laws" and its "landmark insider trading cases".
"Unfortunately when it comes to her comments on enforcement
she showed a lack of self awareness," Cuban tweeted. "But to her
credit she is selling hard."
An SEC spokesman declined to comment on the remarks.
Cuban's presence in the room quickly became the talk of the
At one point, SEC Democratic Commissioner Luis Aguilar, who
is of Cuban descent, made a joke about how he was confused all
morning because he kept hearing there was another Cuban in the
That remark, as well as his overall speech calling for more
rules for transfer agents and lamenting staff turnover at the
SEC, won him praise from the Twitter handle @mcuban, which has
more than 2 million followers.
"Love the fact that Commissioner Aguilar is CRUSHING the SEC
on its turnover," he Tweeted. "#I'm liking this guy a lot."
Later, on the sidelines of the event, Cuban spoke with
reporters and said he has no plans for one-on-one conversations
with top SEC officials.
"I am learning a lot. I appreciate being here," he said. "I
can't be a critic or just be a commentator or even an informed
observer if I don't make an effort to observe."
But in traditional Cuban fashion, he was also not shy about
pointing out some flaws.
"It comes across a lot like a fundraising," he said, in
reference to comments by Chair White about the agency's tight
The SEC's budget is deficit-neutral because it is off-set by
fees, but the amount is still appropriated by Congress.
"It doesn't come across as being very realistic because at
no point do they ever say we made mistakes and we are going to
re-evaluate where we allocate our resources," he added.