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Letter from Harry Fein, M.D., to Senator Duncan Fletcher concerning stock market regulation, March 2, 1934

The highly publicized hearings of the Pecora Committee elicited strong reactions from around the country. In March 1934, as Congress was debating legislation to regulate the stock exchange, Boston doctor Harry Fein wrote a plaintive letter to Senator Duncan Fletcher of Florida, chairman of the committee, urging strong regulation to protect investors.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Letter from Harry Fein, M.D., to Senator Duncan Fletcher concerning stock market regulation, March 2, 1934 Letter from Harry Fein, M.D., to Senator Duncan Fletcher concerning stock market regulation, March 2, 1934

The 1929 Stock Market Crash

The 1929 New York stock market crash reverberated throughout the nation, propelling the economic collapse that resulted in the Great Depression. To understand the cause of the financial crash, the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency investigated the market practices of Wall Street financiers and financial institutions. Informally named after its astute and dynamic chief counsel, Ferdinand Pecora, the Pecora Committee exposed wrongdoing and recovered millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. Congress drew on the committee’s discoveries to legislate regulations that would guide the economy for decades to come.

[Financial lobbyists] are powerful, but they are not powerful enough to defy Congress. They are strong, but they are not strong enough to obstruct the Government. At least that is my hope.

Senator Duncan Fletcher of Florida, Speech to the Senate, May 7, 1934