President Bush has nominated Rep. Christopher Cox to succeed William Donaldson as chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[@@]

The Newport Beach, Calif., Republican has served in Congress nearly 16 years and is the fifth ranking member of the GOP.

Cox is chairman both of the House Policy Committee and of the Homeland Security Committee. He also has been an outspoken supporter of efforts to eliminate the federal estate tax and make the repeal proposed in 2001 permanent.

Before Cox was elected to the House, he worked as a lawyer in the Reagan White House. He also has worked as a securities lawyer in private practice.

The president has moved swiftly to replace the current SEC chairman, Donaldson, who announced plans Wednesday to resign June 20 and return to private industry.

Bush nominated Donaldson to his current post as SEC chairman in 2003.

In addition to being a founder of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Inc., New York, Donaldson has been a chairman of Aetna Inc., Hartford.

The SEC consists of a chairman and 4 other commissioners. In addition to having a chance to name Donaldson’s successor, the president will have a chance to nominate 2 other individuals to fill SEC seats.

Some critics of the SEC say New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been doing a better job of uncovering wrongdoing at public companies. Those critics and other SEC observers are asking whether changes in the composition of the SEC will affect the agency’s commitment to protecting individual investors.