We know that President Barack Obama has nominated
former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Mary Jo White
for the position chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
The New York Times
notes that during her nine-year tenure as U.S. Attorney, White oversaw the prosecution of the crime boss John Gotti and those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
However, the Times
notes that while White is best known as an aggressive prosecutor, she also built a lucrative legal practice afterward defending Wall Street executives, a potential concern for consumer advocates. The paper also says that she lacks experience in the financial minutiae central to a regulatory role.
Meanwhile, one story in the Wall Street Journal
says that the nomination could be a signal by the Obama Administration of tougher policing of Wall Street.
However, her appointment comes with numerous of conflict of interest issues, according to the Journal article
Her husband, John White, is co-head of Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, a law firm that advises companies on their public reporting obligations and corporate governanceŚcentral SEC issues.
Moreover, the paper states that Obama administration ethics rules would bar Ms. White for two years from working on certain matters involving her former law firm or any clients handled in the prior two years. That might affect enforcement cases in particular. The rules also would restrict her ability to meet with former clients on more-routine SEC matters.
The article also warns that White may have to recuse herself from cases involving her husbands clients.
A second Wall Street Journal
article notes cases where she wasn't as tough as her reputation implies, such as her investigation into the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign-finance scandals.
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