Friday, January 25, 2013

Regulatory Oversight

Cordray, Mary Jo White, Obama, SEC, CFPB
If the SEC chairwoman-candidate
Has both tried the Street and defended it,
One may sensibly ask
If she'll make of her task
To have reined in the Street or befriended it.

According to the New York Times' Dealbook, there's a "signal to Wall Street in Obama's pick for regulators."  So, one may ask, what is the signal?  In announcing his nomination of Mary Jo White to run the Securities & Exchange Commission, President Obama said: "It’s not enough to change the law; we also need cops on the beat to enforce the law," adding: "You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo." Indeed, Ms. White made a name for herself as the United States Attorney in Manhattan in the '90s, prosecuting the 1993 World Trade Center bombers and John Gotti, among others. The current US Attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, who put inside trader Raj Rajaratnam in jail, is among the generation of prosecutors trained by Ms. White.

This is all well and good, but her appointment sends other signals as well.  As a recent, must-watch PBS Frontline documentary points out, no Wall Street or financial industry figures have been prosecuted for the frauds that contributed to the financial crisis.  As chair of the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton for the last ten years, Ms. White made it her business to keep the industry's leaders "untouchable".  The "revolving door" between Wall Street and Washington has long served to take the teeth out of regulation; it remains to be seen which way the door is turning in the case of Mary Jo White.

1 comment:

  1. Good limerick! She's certainly an interesting pick. I have a feeling she'll be good, but only if she WANTS to be good. :)


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