Rep. Christopher Cox (R-California) is now officially the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was confirmed by the Senate Banking Committee to head up the post on July 29.
After being confirmed, Cox released a statement in which he said: "I look forward to working with the Commission's outstanding professional staff of 4,000 men across the country for the protection of investors and the health of our capital markets." Cox will join the SEC on Thursday, August 4, and will resign from his House seat tomorrow.
At his confirmation hearing July 26, Cox told members of the Senate Banking Committee that his top priority as SEC chairman would be "vigorous enforcement" of securities laws. 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 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, there are "various ways to skin a cat."