Former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger, now running the non-profit ProPublica investigative journalism operation, told Editor & Publisher’s Joe Strupp that he does not remember the business paper receiving a tip about alleged fraud by investor Bernie Madoff.
A whistleblower testified before Congress on Wednesday that he approached a Journal reporter with information about Madoff in 2005, but was rebuffed.
Strupp writes, “‘Just look at the people the Journal has done tough stories on,’ Steiger recalled. ‘People that were much bigger than Madoff. We would have loved to have done the story.’
“He does say he wishes his former paper and others had picked up on the scandal earlier, even though there was little evidence to pursue in the past: ‘It would have been wonderful to do it. But for every real ponzi scheme, there are scores of possible ponzi schemes.’
“Steiger said he did not even recall Madoff as a potential target of investigation three years ago. ‘I donâ€™t remember him at all, I may have met him, but I certainly don’t remember him,’ he said. ‘My knowledge of him is what I am reading since the Madoff case became public.’
“‘It is one of the more amazing stories,’ Steiger adds about Madoff. ‘This was clearly a story everyone missed — the SEC missed it. It would have been great to cover it not three years ago, but 10 years ago.'”
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