William Galvin, secretary of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, expressed doubts about President Bush's appointment last week of Californian Republican Christopher Cox as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dow Jones reports.

"The pending nomination of Mr. Cox and other anticipated vacancies at the SEC raises a more serious question: Is the era of reform and vigorous enforcement over?" Galvin asked at a hearing before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

Galvin's remarks came during a hearing on the SEC's role in spotting mutual fund trading abuses. In April, the Government Accountability Office reported that the SEC had failed to uncover trading abuses, but had since extracted settlements - among the Commission's highest - from mutual fund wrongdoers.

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