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American securities enforcement agencies often face charges that they use their enforcement power to further political goals.' Most recently, Standard & Poor's credit rating agency claimed that the U.S. Department of Justice unfairly singled it out for prosecution for fraudulent credit ratings after it downgraded U.S. sovereign debt. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or the Commission), too, has been accused of using its enforcement politically: of bringing enforcement actions to improve its political standing, to punish its detractors, or to deflect attention from negative reports about its activities; and of holding back investigations of politically-connected figures.