Warren calls on Obama to fire SEC head

Elizabeth Warren is calling on the president to fire the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who she says is undermining the agency’s mission

Warren calls on Obama to fire SEC head
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has called on President Obama to “immediately” oust Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White.

In a letter to the president, Warren said that White is undermining the SEC’s mission to protect investors by refusing to develop a political spending disclosure rule and attempts to reduce companies’ existing disclosure obligations.

Obama and congressional Democrats have strongly opposed recent Republican efforts to prevent the SEC from requiring companies to disclose political contributions. But White herself has refused to issue such a rule “despite overwhelming investor and public support for it,” according to a news release from Warren’s office.

“Congressional Democrats will fight to remove the recently passed rider from December’s government funding legislation, and I urge you to veto any effort to extend this corrupt policy,” Warren wrote to Obama. “But these efforts will be meaningless as long a Chair White continues to control the agenda of the SEC.”
Warren also said that White had pursued a voluntary “disclosure effectiveness initiative” aimed at reducing already existing disclosure obligations.

“For the last three years, (White’s anti-disclosure) views have undermined the SEC, your Administration’s policies, Congressional mandates and the best interests of investors,” Warren wrote. “Under a new Chair, the agency can re-direct its limited discretionary resources away from actively undermining the interests of investors and back toward its core purposes.

“Chair White’s unapologetic anti-disclosure posture has also resulted in an SEC that regularly fails to stand up for its own authority and regulations in this area,” Warren added. “Her stance has empowered efforts to weaken federal disclosure requirements.”

Warren said she felt that White’s immediate replacement was the only remedy for the problems she felt the SEC had.

“I have tried both publicly and privately to persuade Chair White to direct the agency's resources toward pressing matters of compelling interest to investors and the public, and toward completing those rules that Congress has required it to implement,” Warren wrote. “But after years of fruitless efforts, it is clear that Chair White is set on her course.  The only way to return the SEC to its intended purpose is to change its leadership.”

Under existing regulations, Obama has the authority to replace the SEC chair at any time if he designates a new chair from among existing SEC commissioners.