U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

January 24, 2013 by  

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ah, yes, it’s silly season again in Washington, DC, as the in-with-the-new and out-with-the-old change of administration and Congress doesn’t quite accomplish either of those often desirous goals, and we wind up with a poison-the-new and recycle-the-old.

Important jobs are doled out to unqualified campaign contributors. The old guard of hanger-ons and consultants once again line up at the trough.

It’s not pretty. It’s not the way government or regulation should work.

In recent days, the press has been aflutter with the story that President Obama will nominate former United States Attorney (“USA”) Mary Jo White to replace Mary Schapiro and Elisse Walter as the Chair of the United States Securities And Exchange Commission (“SEC”). White was the USA for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) from 1993 to 2002, and returned to the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLC as a litigation partner. Given that pedigree, many hear the whir of the infamous revolving door between federal service and the major law firms.

In response to a number of press inquiries about my take on this nomination, I see much promise. White has superb qualifications. The questions are whether she:

Only time will tell.

I’m a 30-year veteran regulatory lawyer. I’m also known as an industry gadfly and vocal critic of ineffective regulation and incompetent regulators. Not exactly the kind of guy who will get a phone call from White asking for my suggestions. All of which is fine by me. Nonetheless, since no one is asking, howsabout I simply toss in my two cents and offer my unwanted opinion?

On the plus side of White’s balance sheet is that she was an aggressive SDNY USA, which is the foremost district for prosecuting Wall Street. White has always been known as a pit-bull. Without a doubt, this is someone with the chops to get the job done, if she is inclined to bite down and chew.

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