When SEC Chair Mary Jo White was nominated by President Obama to take over as head of the agency, she could have reasonably expected that she and the agency would face numerous hurdles and disagreements with Republicans in Congress. Since 2010, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has been highly critical of the SEC's performance -- and equally skeptical of the SEC's ongoing requests for an increased budget.
Chair White might not have expected, however, to be encountering as much resistance and criticism as she is now facing from Democrats -- particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren. As discussed here, Sen. Warren has taken aim at the SEC and Chair White from the very beginning of her term in the Senate through the present. This week, Politico reports, Sen. Warren and activist groups with which she is aligned appear to have successfully derailed President Obama's plan to nominate Keir Gumbs of the law firm Covington & Burling to fill a Democratic seat on the Commission. Politico reports that the delay in this nomination
could further disrupt the work of the SEC, which has been struggling amid partisan fighting to write new rules.
'It would be extremely difficult for the SEC to move forward on any of the items on its plate if there is not a full complement of commissioners,' said a financial industry lobbyist who follows the agency.
The liberal activist groups aligned with Warren reportedly objected to Gumbs’ past ties to Wall Street work, "including his advice to companies on how to dodge scrutiny from shareholder activists." In response to this criticism, the White House will now reportedly begin looking for candidates who don’t have such corporate relationships to replace Commissioner Luis Aguilar, a Democrat whose term expired last month but who has thus far agreed to remain on the Commission.
As discussed here, current SEC commissioner Dan Gallagher, a Republican, has also announced that he is preparing to depart the agency as soon as a successor is confirmed by the Senate.