Share This Page

Senate's approval of SEC nominee unanimous

| Monday, April 8, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Monday confirmed Mary Jo White to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, placing a tough former prosecutor in the role of Wall Street's top watchdog.

White was confirmed by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate, an indication of broad bipartisan support.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 22 to 1 to approve her nomination last month, with the lone no vote from Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Brown has been critical of federal officials in general for not being tougher on Wall Street.

President Obama nominated White as the long-term replacement for Mary Schapiro, who stepped down in September. Democratic Commissioner Elisse Walter has been leading the SEC since then.

White made a name for herself as the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. From 1993 to 2002, White aggressively prosecuted insider traders, drug traffickers and terrorists, including those involved in the 1993 World Trade Center attack and the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

She becomes the first former prosecutor to chair the SEC. But the job involves more than enforcement. The SEC is implementing dozens of new regulations as part of the 2010 overhaul of financial rules.

“The SEC needs a strong leader in place as it works to implement Wall Street reform, and that is exactly what the commission is getting with Mary Jo White,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said.

Some senators raised potential conflict-of-interest issues at her confirmation hearing. After leaving the U.S. attorney's office, White took a job at a New York law firm representing some major Wall Street firms and figures, including former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director Rajat Gupta and former Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Ken Lewis.

White apparently allayed senators' concerns, promising tough enforcement and saying, “The American public will be my client.”

“Mrs. White has an impressive record in both the public and private sectors,” Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said after her confirmation.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.