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Democrats corporate and progressive wings dicker over SEC© opening

Publisher: Marketwatch
Author: Francine McKenna

An internecine battle between the so-called corporate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party has broken out over who will replace outgoing Securities and Exchange Commissioner Luis Aguilar, whose term expired in June.

Groups aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren have pushed back against the idea of nominating Keir Gumbs, a former SEC© attorney and current partner at Covington & Burling.

While Warren was criticized earlier this month on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page for political hostage taking, Brad Miller, a former Democratic member of the House who worked on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and is now with the law firm Grais & Ellsworth LLP, said Warren’s actions are part of the job. “Sen. Warren, who is a member of the Senate Banking Committee that would vote on the SEC© appointment, has a constitutional right and obligation as a senator under Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution to provide advice and consent on the appointment of public officials by the president,” Miller said.

But it’s not just Warren — a favorite villain of Republicans and bankers, and at times the Obama administration — pushing the White House to look at alternatives to Gumbs. A broad coalition of Democrats and bipartisan reform organizations have acted individually and in concert to send a message to the president that the process of Wall Street veterans and their lawyers at the SEC© supporting the appointment of more of their own must end.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, wrote the president about the open spot, asking him to consider professionals with a variety of backgrounds: “We need experts but we also need people with a passion for public service and a willingness to advocate for those who have been harmed by the financial services industry.”

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