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Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell President Obama Mary Jo White must go

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Petition to President Barack Obama:

"Replace Mary Jo White as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission with someone who will stand up to Wall Street, and encourage her to step down immediately."

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    Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell President Obama Mary Jo White must go

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren just made national headlines by calling on President Obama to replace Mary Jo White as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

    In a scathing recent letter, Sen. Warren detailed 19 times the SEC has failed to enact commonsense banking rules included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. The final straw for Sen. Warren was Chair White delaying and undermining the administration’s efforts to protect investors by requiring corporations to disclose their political spending.1 Sen. Warren is the first elected official to join the independent watchdog organization the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and tens of thousands of CREDO members in boldly calling on President Obama to replace White as the nation’s top Wall Street cop.2

    As long as Mary Jo White is chair of the SEC, Americans will never truly be safe from Wall Street deceit and lawbreaking. From her time as a U.S. Attorney giving financial criminals a free pass, to her lucrative stint as a private corporate defense attorney, White’s entire career represents the worst of the revolving door between Wall Street and government. CREDO members have been at the forefront of this fight. But Sen. Warren is taking a risk to call for White’s ouster, so it is more important than ever to show how many people stand behind her.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell President Obama Mary Jo White must go.

    White has repeatedly stood with the Chamber of Commerce and other conservative lobbying groups desperate to keep investors in the dark by limiting corporate disclosure. In addition to delaying the SEC’s rules, Sen. Warren noted that White’s silence or even opposition to investors’ requests for more information have fueled Republican attempts to block the rule that would force companies to be open about their Citizens United-style political spending.

    It is not the first time Sen. Warren has taken a bold stand. A few months ago, she attacked a pattern of failure and misleading statements by White.3 Days after, the independent watchdog POGO made a convincing case that President Obama should demote White, noting that she has4:

    • Backed “get out of jail free” cards for criminal banks, repeatedly voting to give big banks waivers allowing them to keep special perks despite breaking the law.5 White has even butted heads with reform-minded commissioner Kara Stein, who objects to these free giveaways to admitted criminals.6 As the fifth and tie-breaking vote on many issues, White regularly sides with Wall Street, not Main Street.

    • Overseen a paralyzed, Wall Street-friendly SEC. Reports describe White’s SEC as plagued “by discord and paralysis.”7 Rules have taken years to finalize, and her frequent need to recuse herself due to her background as a private defense attorney – and her husband’s current job as a corporate lawyer – has empowered Republicans to demand lighter punishments for corporate lawbreakers.8 In fact, White’s biggest fans appear to be Republicans.9

    • Hired revolving door Goldman Sachs’ managing director as her chief of staff. After overlooking Wall Street fraud as the Director of Investment at the SEC in the run-up to the financial crash, Andrew Donohue was later richly rewarded as managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he oversaw the firm’s legal matters. In a disgusting example of the revolving door, he then returned to the SEC in 2015 in the highly influential position of chief of staff to White.10

    On top of it all, the SEC has settled the majority of its cases without requiring companies to admit guilt, breaking a key promise Mary Jo White made in her confirmation hearing. We’ve given Mary Jo White enough time to prove her detractors wrong. Her time at the SEC should now come to an end.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell President Obama Mary Jo White must go.

    President Obama has the power to name a new chair of the commission. He could promote Kara Stein, “Elizabeth Warren’s ally on the inside.”11 Chair White would then become a regular commissioner – or do the right thing and resign. The Securities and Exchange Commission, with its wide-ranging responsibilities for overseeing private equity, hedge funds, Wall Street banks, and big corporations, is simply too important an institution to leave in her charge.

    In the past, when Sen. Warren dared to criticize White, bank lobbyists took to the press to declare that Warren had finally gone too far.12 We need to show that CREDO members stand behind her as she takes on the fights that truly matter.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell President Obama Mary Jo White must go.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “SEC Letter to POTUS,” Warren.Senate.gov, Oct. 14, 2016.
    2. Project On Government Oversight, “POGO Asks President Obama to Replace SEC Chair Mary Jo White,” pogo.org, June 8, 2015.
    3. Warren, “SEC Letter to POTUS.”
    4. Project On Government Oversight, “POGO Asks President Obama to Replace SEC Chair Mary Jo White.”
    5. Elizabeth Warren, “Letter to the Honorable Mary Jo White,” Senate.Warren.gov, June 2, 2015.
    6. Patrick Temple-West, “Elizabeth Warren’s ally on the inside,” Politico, May 18, 2015.
    7. David Michaels and Robert Schmidt, “The Agency That Barely Moves,” Bloomberg, May 21, 2015.
    8. Ben Protess and Peter Eavis, “Political Fights Throw Sand in Gears of S.E.C.,” New York Times, May 28, 2015.
    9. Alec MacGillis, “Mary Jo White Doesn't Scare Anybody,” The New Republic, May 4, 2014.
    10. Kevin G. Hall, “Goldman lawyer becomes SEC chief of staff,” McClatchy, May 28, 2015.
    11. Temple-West, “Elizabeth Warren’s ally on the inside.”
    12. Patrick Temple-West and Ben White, “Did Elizabeth Warren go too far this time?” Politico, June 2, 2015.