Washington (Feb. 5, 2003) -- Christmas may come early for the Securities and Exchange Commission -- the White House said it will seek a budget of $842 million for the agency to carry out its duties in 2004, nearly double the 2002 level.

SEC spokeswoman Christi Harlan said the money proposed for fiscal 2004, which begins Oct. 1, would enable the SEC to add 710 new staff members to its current staff of 3,165.

Harlan said additional staff would be added to the following areas: 151 attorneys and accountants would be added in enforcement; and 136 additional staff, mostly analysts, would be added to the examinations program for broker/dealers. One hundred sixty-five new staff, mostly analysts, would be added in the examinations program for investment advisors. Another 151 staff, mostly accountants, would be added in corporation finance. An additional 30 employees would be added in market regulation, and another 20 to the office of the chief accountant, Harlan said.

In 2002, the SEC brought a record 598 civil enforcement actions against individuals and companies accused of breaking the securities laws.

-- Melissa Klein

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