His popularity dipped, however, amid a series of corporate accounting scandals — most famously at the energy giant Enron — that drew renewed attention to his prior corporate work. Representatives of both parties questioned his interest in investigating private-sector wrongdoing.
The final straw came when it emerged that he had failed to tell the White House or his fellow S.E.C. commissioners that an accounting board chairman he championed had headed the audit committee of a company accused of fraud. Under pressure, Mr. Pitt resigned on election night 2002.
Born on Feb. 28, 1945 in Brooklyn, Harvey Lloyd Pitt was the child of Morris and Sara Pitt. His father was a vice president of the Waldbaum’s supermarket chain; his mother was a homemaker.
Harvey, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan who was gutted when the team left for the West Coast, his family said, went on to earn degrees from Brooklyn College and St. John’s University before joining the S.E.C. straight out of college. It was the only job he had ever wanted.
In 1978, with a growing family, he went into private practice, where he represented some of the same people his organization had been charged with regulating. His clients included Ivan Boesky, who pleaded guilty to insider trading during the junk bond scandal of the late 1980s, and scores of financial firms.