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Sen. Warren Attacks SEC Head Mary Jo White

Warren said there has been a “significant gap” between the promises White made during her confirmation and her subsequent performance helming the independent commission.
Sen. Warren Attacks SEC Head Mary Jo White
Image from: www.bloomberg.com

You may recall that White was granted a waiver last year allowing her to vote on agency issues affecting Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a major corporate law firm that was also a former client of hers, and which represents some of the biggest names on Wall Street. She couldn't possibly be thinking about her post-government career, could she? Via the Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON -- Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts took aim at the country’s top Wall Street regulator Tuesday, saying in an unusually blunt letter that Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White’s leadership has been “extremely disappointing” and accusing her of providing “misleading information.”

In the 13-page letter, Warren said there has been a “significant gap” between the promises White made during her confirmation and her subsequent performance helming the independent commission.

“I am disappointed that you have not been the strong leader that many hoped for — and that you promised to be,” Warren wrote in the letter sent Tuesday. “I hope you will step up to the job for which you have been confirmed.”

It is Warren’s latest public fight against an official who is backed by her own party and the clearest sign to date of a rift opening between the SEC and the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Warren’s battle cries tend to set the agenda for the left and are igniting passion from her hundreds of thousands of followers across the country.

White defended her tenure at the SEC in a statement Tuesday morning. “I am very proud of the agency’s achievements under my leadership, including our record year in enforcement and the commission’s efforts,” White said.

Suspicion among liberals about White accelerated last week when she appointed a top Goldman Sachs attorney to be her chief of staff.

White, a former federal prosecutor turned Wall Street lawyer, was nominated by President Obama to lead the five-member commission. The other four commissioners are two Democrats and two Republicans.

Warren voted for White’s confirmation in committee despite some concerns about her banking industry ties. The committee approved her on a 21-to-1 vote with the lone dissenting vote coming from Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. White’s nomination then sailed through the Senate in April 2013.


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Relations between Warren and White have been steadily deteriorating — with a boiling point reached last month when Warren and White met to discuss a long-delayed rule on chief executive pay. The rule would require public companies to disclose compensation for CEOs, the median pay for their workers, and the ratio between the two. It was supposed to be completed 21 months ago but has been postponed several times, Warren said.

During the May 21 meeting, White said it would be complete by fall 2015, according to Warren’s account. Yet hours after the two met, Warren learned the rule wouldn’t actually be done until April 2016.

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