On July 18, President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Hester Maria Peirce of Ohio to serve on the Securities and Exchange Commission for the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 5, 2020.
Peirce is a Senior Research Fellow at the Financial Markets Working Group at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Previously, she served on the staff of the Senate Banking Committee, and also as a staff attorney with the SEC from 2000 to 2008.
Peirce is the editor and a contributor to the 2012 book, Dodd-Frank: What It Does and Why It’s Flawed. The book concludes that Dodd-Frank "not only fails to achieve many of its stated goals, it also creates dangerous regulatory pathologies that could lay the groundwork for the next crisis."
Peirce also has been critical of FINRA, writing in a January 2015 research paper that "although commonly perceived to be a self-regulator, FINRA is not accountable to the industry in the way a self-regulator would be. Nor is it accountable to the public, Congress, the president, or the courts."
If her name sounds familiar, it should. Peirce was an unconfirmed nominee to fill the same post by President Obama way back in October 2015. Neither she, nor fellow nominee Lisa Fairfax, a Democrat and law professor at the George Washington University Law School, garnered the full and necessary support of Senate Democrats.
The reason for the kerfuffle: neither nominee would pledge support for rulemaking requiring the disclosure of political contributions.
That rulemaking demand derived from a Petition for Rulemaking. It has been submitted as a rulemaking petition twice since 2011, garnered 1.2 million comment letters, and sparked a superhero-themed ad campaign.
The petition was originally filed by a team of 10 prominent law professors. Among them, spearheading the effort was Robert Jackson, an associate professor at Columbia Law School.
The inherent irony: Jackson is now rumored to be Trump’s pick to sit aside Peirce on the Commission, filling the traditional seat reserved for the opposing political party.
If the nomination speculation bears out, will Republicans do battle with the White House over nominating a creator of a rule they clearly hate (and that Democrats loved enough to defy their party’s president)?