WASHINGTON ­— Though state regulators were swifter and more aggressive than their federal counterparts in responding to abuses that led to the 2008 collapse of the auction-rate securities market, they could have played a larger role in preventing the crisis if their authority had not been preempted by Congress, the head of a regulator group warned yesterday.

Testifying before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission during its second day of hearings on Capitol Hill, Denise Voigt Crawford, president of the North American Securities Administrators Association and the commissioner of the Texas Securities Board, took aim at a 1996 law.

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