Elizabeth Warren Calls for SEC Chair Mary Jo White to Step Down

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Oct 17, 2016
Photo Credit: SEC, U.S. Senate

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a regular critic of the finance industry, has called for Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to step down over what the senator views as a failure to properly regulate the sector, according to CNN Money. In particular she said that the chair, despite having the clear authority to do so, has not enacted any kind of regulation requiring the disclosure of political contributions, which Senator Warren said would stem the tide of secret political contributions that she feels erodes democracy. While the matter had been on the SEC's regulatory agency under the previous chair, Mary Schapiro, White removed it in 2014 and it has not reappeared since. 

"Chair White's refusal to move forward on a political spending disclosure rule serves the narrow interests of powerful executives who would prefer to hide their expenditures of company money to advance their own personal ideologies," said Warren in the letter outlining her case. 

The senator attributed this lack of action is part of White's overall view that companies are required to disclose too much to investors. She pointed to the SEC's "Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative," which is focused on determining whether there needs to be so many discloses, as an example. Warren said that not only does this viewpoint run "directly counter to the views of investors themselves and the animating purpose of this agency for more than 80 years," but undermines the administration's priorities regarding the financial industry. 

"Enough is enough. To address your concerns on political spending disclosure, and to advance other priorities of your administration and investors, I respectfully urge you to exercise your unilateral authority under 17 C.F.R. § 200.10 to immediately designate another SEC commissioner as Chair of the agency," said Warren in her letter to the president. 

CNN Money pointed out that the president cannot actually fire White, but he can demote her and appoint a new commissioner as chair. It also said that the SEC declined to comment on the letter. 

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