Elizabeth Warren Asks Obama To Fire Top Wall Street Regulator For 'Brazen Conduct'
WASHINGTON ― Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Friday asked President Barack Obama to fire the government’s top securities regulator for “brazen conduct” that “hurts investors, undermines administration policy, and willfully misinterprets congressional mandates.”
Warren is taking aim at Securities and Exchange Chair Mary Jo White, a former prosecutor and corporate lawyer who has long supported limiting corporate disclosures to investors. White is an Obama appointee who identifies as a political independent and often sides with a Republican commissioner. She has been in Warren’s crosshairs for years.
Warren railed against White in a June congressional hearing, saying she was “more disappointed than ever” over the SEC’s efforts to scale back corporate disclosures. White insisted the disclosures unnecessarily burden companies.
“I’ve never heard of the idea that investors want less information than they’re getting,” Warren said. “Let’s be honest about this. I cannot find and you have not produced a single investor who has complained to the SEC about getting too much information.”
The spat came amid a review of possible updates, released in April, to SEC rules that would require businesses to disclose financial risk posed by global warming, or government crackdowns on corporate profits stashed in offshore tax havens.
“More than a million people, including countless investors and former SEC commissioners, are pushing the agency to require publicly traded companies to disclose their political contributions,” Warren added.
At the same hearing, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) piled on criticism of the SEC for failing to require companies to disclose their political contributions.
“You’re hurting America,” Schumer told White. “Your priorities are out of line with what corporate America needs and America needs, and I hope when you go to bed late at night, you would think about that.”
Warren over the summer pilloried the SEC for failing to finalize rules and waivers, and for settling cases without obtaining guilty pleas. She also criticized links between the companies White oversees, and both the law firm where she once worked, and the one her husband currently runs.
Warren’s push for White’s ouster comes on the heels of her victory against Wells Fargo, embroiled in a scandal over widespread fraud. During a congressional hearing last month, Warren speared now-retired CEO John Stumpf. She called for him to resign and be “criminally investigated.” Days later, the bank’s board forced Stumpf to forfeit $41 million in unvested stock and give up his $2.8 million annual salary. He resigned on Wednesday.
Warren, who has served as an outspoken surrogate for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, appears to be staking out her place in a future administration. Last month, Warren ― who has repeatedly attacked Republican nominee Donald Trump on Twitter in recent months ― signaled she would try to stop any appointment of big bank executives to Clinton’s cabinet.
“We believe Sen. Elizabeth Warren is succeeding in establishing herself as the chief financial policymaker in a potential Clinton White House,” Jaret Seiberg, managing director at the financial research firm Cowen Group, wrote in an investor memo last month. “She has threatened to stop Clinton nominees with ties to BlackRock and other firms. And she is using the bully pulpit to shape the debate over the Wells Fargo cross-selling controversy.”