Tags: elizabeth warren | pick | sec | staffer | conflict of interest

Warren's Reported SEC Nominee Could Face Conflict of Interest

Warren's Reported SEC Nominee Could Face Conflict of Interest
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (AP Images)

By    |   Friday, 05 May 2017 04:47 PM

The reported choice of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently one her staffers, whose wife is a defense lawyer and has represented banks before the SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

This opens a possible conflict of interest.

Bharat Ramamurti is Warren's senior banking counsel, and his wife, Paige Ammons, works at the Washington law firm Buckley Sandler, whose LinkdIn account stated that among her clients were individuals being investigated by government agencies, including the SEC, Department of Justice, and the CFPB, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.

Warren is "staunchly backing" his nomination, according to sources.

President Donald Trump has been unable to fill open seats on the SEC and CFPB, and currently each agency has two members, a Republican and a Democrat, which has hampered the president's efforts to roll back Wall Street regulations associated with the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. There are three vacancies on the SEC still left to fill.

A Washington Post article in 2011 explained that the Buckley Sandler law firm's clients included Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, BB&T and J.P. Morgan Chase. Warren has regularly criticized big banking practices.

The Times article, based on a Reuters report from mid April, explained that the conflict of interest arises because "Warren is working to place the husband of a lawyer whose firm represents the big banks her spouse's boss regularly decries on the SEC."

It further stated the SEC was the "primary regulator that polices and writes rules for Wall Street."

Reuters reported Ramamurti declined to comment.

If correct, her endorsement of Ramamurti would be particularly striking since Reuters explained Warren voted against Trump's one approved nominee to lead the panel, Jay Clayton, citing conflict of interest claims due to his position at a law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, which has represented large banks.

The Times explained Ramamurti had "extensive involvement in Warren's work regarding financial regulatory policy," and that his work already "overlaps heavily" with that of his wife. It also stated that even if Warren was not backing him for the SEC post, "his work in Warren's office and his wife's work at Buckley Sandler raise enough questions on their own."

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The reported choice of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently one her staffers, whose wife is a defense lawyer and has represented banks before the SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau...
elizabeth warren, pick, sec, staffer, conflict of interest
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2017-47-05
Friday, 05 May 2017 04:47 PM
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