WASHINGTON - Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox said yesterday that state and federal regulators made it a top priority to investigate major firms' sales of auction-rate securities to retail investors but their ARS probes include all firms that sold the securities to investors, not just large primary dealers.

"Nobody gets a pass," Cox said during a press conference to unveil a new electronic disclosure system for registered companies' called IDEA. "Secondary dealers, other primary dealers that aren't part of the settlements, are being investigated." The new system, which does not apply to municipal disclosures, will replace EDGAR in late 2009.

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