News Snippets from around the Pale Blue Dot

Mary Jo White: A Disastrous Choice For Chairmen Of The SEC

President Obama nominated Mary Jo White as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Mary served for nearly a decade as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.  She specialized in prosecuting white collar crimes, a reason cited by White House officials that she would be essential as a regulator and administrator for implementing Wall Street reform.

The revolving door in Washington has become a cliche.  Everyone with eyes to see by now acknowledges that the banks run the show.  If you haven’t realized that, perhaps this article will lift your brows to the back of your head.  It’s about to get unbelievably corrupt.

Mary Jo White first passed through the revolving door when she went onto the payroll of a prestigious Wall St law firm, Debvoise & Plimpton, a firm that boasted clients, but not limited to, JP Morgan, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.  She worked to defend them against matters stemming from the financial crisis of 2008, where these banks proved their ineptitude by plummeting the US, and much of the world’s economy, into the crapper.

Her confirmation hearing was on March 12th, 2013, and through this process much comes to light, such as financial disclosures.  Here’s where the fun begins.  In leaving Debvoise & Plimpton Mary Jo White will enjoy a retirement package of $42,000 a month, equating to $510,000 a year.  For the rest of her life. 

But it gets worse.  This retirement package is unfunded, which means her paychecks are dependent upon the firm’s continuing profitable business operations.  That’s correct, we’re to expect that Mary Jo White is going to regulate and administer reform to a company she has all the reason in the world to protect for her own financial interests.  No matter what laws this firm breaks to protect and ensure the prosperity of its all mighty clients, to prosecute them to their financial detriment would be to throw herself off the gravy train.

Then Senator Obama, back in 2007 promised change.  Well, to put it in perspective, this is change.  It’s change in a grotesquely corrupt direction.

The below excerpt from Bloomberg.com would seem to indicate the Obama administration is, at least when it comes to dealing with Wall Street, even more corrupt than the Bush administration.  Now that’s insane.  That’s a disaster.  That makes me sad.

The last time a partner from a major law firm was picked as SEC chairman was in 2001, when President George W Bush appointed Harvey Pitt of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Pitt, a renowned securities lawyer who had been at the firm 23 years, severed all relationships with Fried Frank, taking a lump-sum payment for all future amounts he was owed, discounted for the time value of money.

“Because the SEC regulates public companies, it is better for the public to know that the commissioners of the SEC do not have any other financial interest other than the U.S. public and the U.S. government,” Pitt told the Senate Banking Committee at his confirmation hearingin July 2001.

I challenge someone to make sense of this to me in the comments.  Please.  Is there no one out there who can explain how Mary Jo White will be able to act with any integrity as the Chairman of the SEC while being so transparently entwined with the business interests of the companies she’s meant to regulate?

Chuck Hagel, who I give credit to President Obama for as a fair pick for the new Secretary of Defense, had to jump through a thousand flaming hoops, including enduring an asinine filibuster.  Mary Jo White, in contrast, had to deal with a fraction of the noise pitted against Chuck Hagel in to gain her confirmation.  Why?  Because both sides of the aisle love Wall Street.  It always comes down to money in politics.  It’s about time we do something about it. 

Sources: Bloomberg.com, Wallsteetonparade.com

 

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