Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., lambasted Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White in a Tuesday letter about her “broken promises” of agency action on major consumer protection issues, and urged White to “step up to the job” of protecting investors.
“I am disappointed by the significant gap between the promises you made during and shortly after your confirmation and your performance as SEC chair,” Warren told White in the 13-page letter. “You have been SEC chair for over two years, and to date, your leadership of the Commission has been extremely disappointing.”
Warren then detailed four areas where she said White made promises to the Senate but failed to follow through.
Under White’s leadership, Warren said, the SEC has failed to finalize Dodd-Frank rules requiring disclosure of the ratio of CEO pay to the median worker; curb the use of waivers for companies found to be in violation of securities law; and has settled the vast majority of cases without requiring the companies admit guilt. White has been unable to participate in “numerous cases because of recusals” related to her prior employment at the Wall Street defense firm Debevoise & Plimpton, Warren wrote.
Warren also stated the White has been and will continue to recuse herself from certain cases because of her husband’s “ongoing employment” at Wall Street defense firms. White’s husband, John, is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
White has recused herself from more than four dozen enforcement investigations, The New York Times reported in February.
“The impact of recusal on the operations of the SEC can be quite damaging,” Warren wrote.