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Stand with Sen. Warren: No big bank crony as Wall Street cop

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Petition to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs:

"Oppose Jay Clayton’s nomination to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. His ties to Goldman Sachs and record of defending banks is the last thing we need in a top Wall Street cop."

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    Stand with Sen. Warren: No big bank crony as Wall Street cop

    One of big banks’ most loyal lapdog lawyers is Donald Trump’s choice to be the top Wall Street cop.

    Jay Clayton spent decades getting Wall Street banks off the hook and is married to a Goldman Sachs broker. Now, Trump has nominated him to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).1 As progressive champion Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, “Mr. Clayton’s selection is great news if you happen to run a big bank or manage a hedge fund.”2

    Opposition to Clayton is mounting, and his nomination is a potent chance to expose Trump as a tool of Wall Street. It is time to speak out.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: No big bank crony as Wall Street cop.

    Clayton spent decades as a Wall Street defense lawyer. In particular, he was integral to helping Barclays profit massively from its acquisition of Lehman Brothers assets during the Wall Street bailouts. He made sure banks like Goldman Sachs could survive and profit after their fraud crashed the economy and financial system.3

    Clayton’s ties to Goldman Sachs go much deeper: His wife is a broker at Goldman Sachs. That means that every decision he makes as SEC chair could result in a profit for himself and his family. Even if he recuses himself from investigations of Goldman Sachs' wrongdoing, every vote to cut rules on big banks or give Wall Street free rein could help the firm and thus line his own pockets. Plus, Goldman Sachs is frequently under investigation – or in line to receive “waivers” to get out of jail free for past offenses. It makes no sense to pick a top cop who will have to sit on the sidelines half the time.4

    All this would make Clayton, in the words of one congressional aide, “the most financially conflicted SEC chairman in history.”5 The fact that he’s Trump pick just shows that Trump is little more than a puppet of financial power. Every word of opposition to Jay Clayton exposes Trump as a phony populist dancing to Wall Street’s tune.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: No big bank crony as Wall Street cop.

    Tasked with protecting investors and maintaining fair markets, the SEC oversees private equity firms, big banks and everything in between. Its control over whether to grant waivers to criminal corporations gives it outsized influence among regulators, while its industry-friendly outlook, regular delays and failure to implement even simple rules make it one of Wall Street’s go-to places to kill reform. We could never expect Trump to pick a reformer, but this brazen attempt to erode the SEC from the inside requires fierce pushback.

    When Donald Trump isn’t visiting his Florida resort at taxpayer expense, he apparently lives in Wall Street’s pocket. Clayton would be the fifth major Trump administration appointment with ties to Goldman Sachs.6 We need to stand with progressive champions like Sen. Warren and push Senate Banking committee members of both parties to oppose this nomination.

    Stand with Sen. Warren: No big bank crony as Wall Street cop.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Matt Taibbi, “Trump Nominee Jay Clayton Will Be the Most Conflicted SEC Chair Ever,” Rolling Stone, Jan. 5, 2017.
    2. Jaclyn Reiss, “Elizabeth Warren rails against Donald Trump’s SEC pick,” The Boston Globe, Jan. 5, 2017.
    3. Taibbi, “Trump Nominee Jay Clayton Will Be the Most Conflicted SEC Chair Ever.”
    4. Ibid.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Ibid.