The Securities and Exchange Commission, usually just called the SEC, exists for one reason: making sure potential investors have enough information to make informed choices when they buy stocks and bonds.
The SEC has five members: two Democrats, two GOPpers, and a supposedly nonpartisan chair. Democrat Luis Aguilar recently resigned, leaving a vacancy. The good news is that at the pressing of Sens. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren, President Obama has nominated Lisa Fairfax, a law professor from George Washington University and an expert on shareholder activism who is thought to be a strong voice for reform of - which in reality of necessity means controls on - the financial industry.
But here's the thing: The person Obama wanted to fill that slot is one Keir Gumbs, a corporate lawyer with the high-powered Wall Street law firm Covington & Burling, which represents numerous financial institutions. Gumbs is a former SEC staffer who more recently has been giving CEOs guidance on how to hide their corporate political spending.
That's who Obama wanted. That's who our oh-so-liberal president wanted. And he wanted him as a corporate-friendly ally to Commission Chair Mary Jo White at a time when the SEC is looking to allow new rules that would undermine the SEC's own mission by making it much easier for corporations to hide their activities and so deceive potential investors in their stocks. That's what Obama wanted to support through his choice for the commission.
I can't say it enough times: These people are not on your side. Never forget it.
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