A Pro-Business, Pro-Regulation SEC Chairman?

At hearing, Cox tells senators he will be a "vigorous" enforcer

Rep. Christopher Cox (R-California) told members of the Senate Banking Committee on July 26 that his top priority would be "vigorous enforcement" of securities laws if he's confirmed by the Senate as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) told Cox that he supports his nomination because like Cox, he, too, is both pro-business and pro-regulation. "I don't think the two conflict," Schumer said. Although Cox, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, is known for his pro-business stance, Schumer said his record in Congress also shows that he's pro-regulation, which means "there won't be a rollback" of the rules that former SEC chairman William Donaldson instituted. Indeed, when asked in which areas he agreed or disagreed with Donaldson, Cox replied that Donaldson "has been a standup guy" during tough times for the markets and the SEC.

Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) asked Cox as well as the two Democrats being considered for nominations, SEC Commissioner Roel Campos and commission staffer Annette Nazareth, whether disagreements and split votes among board members jeopardize the SEC's credibility. Cox replied: "I will do my best to seek the level ground," agreeing that a consensus "strengthens" the Commission. Campos said that while it's always desirable to seek consensus, he doesn't believe that split votes hurt the commission. Nazareth agreed, stating that there are "various ways to skin a cat."

The Banking Committee is expected to vote on all three nominations July 28, with full Senate approval likely taking place before Congress breaks in August. Campos is up for renomination, while Nazareth, director of the SEC's market regulation division, is being considered to replace outgoing commissioner Harvey Goldschmid.

View an update on Cox's confirmation here.

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