Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, fields questions from reporters at the Portland International Jetport in late 2018. He has been nominated to an investment protection post by President Donald Trump. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin announced Friday he has been nominated by President Donald Trump to chair the board of the federal organization charged with returning assets to customers when investments are stolen or brokerage firms go under.

Poliquin is a former Maine state treasurer who represented the 2nd Congressional District for two terms. The Republican lost to U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, in 2018. In August, Poliquin said he wouldn’t run a rematch in 2020, but he didn’t rule out a political run in 2022.

He has been nominated to be the volunteer chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which was created in 1970 in a compromise stemming from a bill by the late Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie, a Democrat, as a response to the U.S. recession of 1969 and 1970.

The corporation’s role to similar to that of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which shields bank customers from losing checking and savings accounts. It protects investors up to a maximum of $500,000 for accounts at one institution if the brokerage firm fails financially.

“I look forward to using my experience to help protect the savings and investments of Americans,” Poliquin said in a statement.

The corporation had a fund of nearly $3.2 billion at the end of 2018. It was criticized by lawmakers nearly a decade ago for interpreting its role narrowly after the Ponzi scheme led by Bernie Madoff that cost investors an estimated $50 billion. As of last July, it recovered more than $13 billion — or 75 percent of the total lost by Madoff victims who filed claims.

Poliquin’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. In a statement, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Poliquin “fought hard to protect the savings of hardworking Americans,” and he will “bring that same tenacity” to the new job.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...