From The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel — Originally published Friday, Jan. 2, 2009

After Bernard Madoff's arrest on charges of securities fraud, the lax regulatory oversight that allowed the Wall Street honcho to allegedly bilk investors out of $50 billion came under fire.

Unfortunately, it turns out there's more cause for alarm at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI, both charged with policing stock fraud, than just their poor job of tracking and investigating Mr. Madoff.

Inexcusably, those federal watchdogs for years also scaled back their prosecutions of supposed offenders by the hundreds. According to a report in The New York Times, in 2002, the SEC brought 513 cases; in 11 months this year, just 133.

... Fortunately, President-elect Barack Obama's choice to lead the SEC, Mary Schapiro, vows to turn the agency and other financial regulatory offices inside-out. Tougher oversight, she says, is coming.

It can't come too soon.