Robert Khuzami has a problem. The former U.S. attorney, chief counsel for Deutsche Bank AG and the Securities and Exchange Commission's current enforcement macher is a lightning rod for public pressures to prosecute "architects" of the financial crisis. Not that he hasn't been busy: Khuzami, 56, has reorganized an office battered by post-Madoff blues, launched investigations and pressed charges (Goldman, Sachs & Co., Citigroup, Wells Notices to former Fannie and Freddie CEOs). But he can't toss anyone in jail. Khuzami's office must identify, investigate, charge and seek civil penalties; to go further, he can pass cases to Justice, as the SEC did in the successful Raj Rajaratnam insider-trading prosecution. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are intent on slashing the SEC budget. And so Khuzami finds himself defending the SEC's 40-year settlement policy -- allowing defendants to neither admit nor deny guilt while paying a cash fine -- that enables a high-throughput prosecutorial operation. That doesn't sit well with angry populists and some federal judges who believe punishment should mean more than cash and boilerplate promises. All that puts Khuzami in the crossfire between practicality and populism. How he deals with that may change the nature of settlements, and SEC enforcement. Or Khuzami may simply be struck by lightning.