Good Riddance

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Paul S. Atkins, one of three Republican members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said on Monday that he would leave the agency after his term ends next month.

Mr. Atkins, widely considered the most conservative member of the S.E.C. in recent years with the strongest free-market bent, was appointed by President Bush in July 2002 at the height of a series of corporate accounting scandals. At the time, he was a partner at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and had worked at the S.E.C. on the staffs of two former chairmen.

Mr. Atkins, 50, plans to remain as commissioner until a successor is installed, the S.E.C. said in a news release on Monday. It did not mention Mr. Atkins’s career plans. While his term expires on June 5, he could have remained for as many as 18 months more.

The release said that Mr. Atkins has called for greater transparency in and analysis of the costs and benefits of new S.E.C. rules.

Mr. Atkins objected to stiff penalties imposed on companies accused of fraudulent conduct, contending that they did not deter crime. He caused a stir in the summer of 2006 when he said the practice of granting stock options to executives ahead of news certain to increase the share price did not constitute insider trading.

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