SEC Nominations (Oct. 20)

Mike & Co. —

Wheels are in motion on almost every major front right now in Congress, with Paul Ryan announcing tonight that he is a to serve as a unity candidate for Speaker, if all the major caucuses of the House Republican conference endorse him.  He is giving the conference until this Friday to decide whether it is behind him.

Some key issues won’t be addressed until a successor to Speaker Boehner has been elected in November, others will necessarily be teed up if not resolved before then.

Meanwhile, the hearing schedule this week includes:

  •  Senate Budget on ideas for reforming the federal budget making process, tomorrow
  •  House Financial Services on housing finance reform, tomorrow
  •  House Transportation on the Highway Trust Fund reauthorization,Thursday(mark-up)

Below, a review of the SEC nominations announced today.   In the days to follow, the status of such issues as the debt limit increase, the CR extension, and the Ex-Im and Highway Trust Fund reauthorizations.

Best,

Dana

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Today, President Obama announced nominations of candidates to replace departing SEC Commissioners Luis Aguilar, whose term expired in June, and former Daniel Gallagher, who left the agency this month.

For the Aguilar seat, reserved for a Democrat, Obama nominated Lisa Fairfax, a law school professor supported by allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren who have wrangled with the White House over this position for several months.  Investor protection advocates pressured the administration to withdraw its initial nominee for the job, a corporate lawyer who had represented pro-business groups.

For Gallagher’s Republican post, Obama has put forward the name of Hester Peirce, a researcher at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Should these nominees be confirmed, it would be the first time a majority of SEC Commissioners are women.  In fact, four out of five of the Commissioners would be.

Fairfax’s research has focused on corporate governance,an increasingly contentious issue for the agency.  In February, she supported an Episcopalian church’s effort to rein in firearm sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc via a shareholder proposal.

She was previously a professor at the University of Maryland law school and worked at law firm Ropes & Gray.  She was recently named a member of the SEC investor advisory committee, a panel of experts who make rulemaking recommendations to the agency.  In May 2014, she hosted a conference that included officials from Public Citizen, Better Markets and the AFL-CIO.  Fairfax is a Harvard Law School graduate.

Hester Peirce, a researcher at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, would replace former SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher, who left the agency earlier this month.

Peirce has won applause from Republicans for her extensive research and criticisms of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.  Her positions on financial regulation will likely draw fire from Senate Democrats who have privately expressed concern with Peirce’s views on Dodd-Frank.

Before Mercatus, Peirce was a banking committee staffer for Sen. Richard Shelby during the drafting of Dodd-Frank.  She worked with the Republican SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar in 2011 when they were both Shelby staffers on the Banking Committee.  Piwowar was the Republican economist.  Both of them worked on the confirmation process for Gallagher and Commissioner Luis Aguilar in June 2011.

At the SEC, Peirce worked for Commissioner Paul Atkins. She also clerked for Judge Roger B. Andewelt of the Court of Federal Claims in Washington.  She currently serves on the SEC’s Investment Advisory Committee.

Sen. Schumer, a member of the Banking Committee that will vote on the nominations, said that one of the chief issues is whether the SEC will enact a rule requiring public companies to disclose their political spending.

 

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