updated 3/1/2006 8:34:56 AM ET 2006-03-01T13:34:56

A second financial news organization was subpoenaed for records in an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose chairman has now put the subpoenas on hold amid controversy.

Financial news Web site TheStreet.com and its co-founder and major shareholder, James Cramer, were served subpoenas by the SEC about two weeks ago in connection with an inquiry into allegations of stock manipulation. Two columnists for Dow Jones online publications, Herb Greenberg of MarketWatch and Carol Remond of Dow Jones Newswires, also received subpoenas in the SEC investigation related to online retailer Overstock.com.

Jordan Goldstein, general counsel of New York-based TheStreet.com, said Tuesday in a telephone interview that the company had objected to the subpoenas dated Feb. 6 demanding records of communications. He declined further comment.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined comment.

Dow Jones & Co., which also publishes The Wall Street Journal, also had objected to the SEC subpoenas.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox took the unusual step Monday of halting the agency’s pursuit of the subpoenas until its five commissioners consider the matter, possibly on Thursday.

Cox suggested that SEC enforcement attorneys should have consulted him before issuing the subpoenas because of the sensitivity of ordering journalists to hand over records.

The SEC, an independent regulatory agency with only civil powers, rarely subpoenas journalists or news organizations.

Cramer, who writes a column for TheStreet.com and is the colorful and hyperactive host of the “Mad Money” show on the CNBC television network, disclosed on the program Monday night that he had been subpoenaed.

The SEC took the action because, “I said the stock was going lower,” Cramer said, referring to shares of Overstock.com.

“I didn’t get the subpoena because I’m corrupt,” he said. “I got it because I tried to get people out of a stock that we said was going lower, and went lower.”

Similarly, Greenberg and Remond have written columns that were critical of Overstock.com and its chief executive, Patrick Byrne.

The retailer has accused the research firm Gradient Analytics of issuing negative reports on the retailer in exchange for payments from a hedge fund seeking to profit from a drop in its stock price. Overstock has sued Gradient and the hedge fund in question, Rocker Partners; they deny any wrongdoing.

After issuing the subpoenas early this month, the SEC decided last week against compelling the journalists, at least for now, to surrender telephone records, e-mails and other documents the agency was seeking in its investigation.

Cox and the other four commissioners are expected to consider the issue at a closed-door meeting, possibly on Thursday. No action on the subpoenas will be taken on the subpoenas before their deliberations, he said Monday.

In an additional twist, Rocker Partners is a minority owner of TheStreet.com, whose shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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