In a bold move, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called on President Barack Obama to fire Security and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, according to The Hill.
Warren wrote a letter to the president saying White, who's held her position since 2013, had engaged in "extraordinary, ongoing efforts to undermine the agency's central mission."
"I do not make this request lightly. I have tried both publicly and privately to persuade Chair White to direct the agency's resources toward pressing matters of compelling interest to investors and the public, and toward completing those rules that Congress has required it to implement," wrote Warren.
"But after years of fruitless efforts, it is clear that Chair White is set on her course. The only way to return the SEC to its intended purpose is to change its leadership."
The letter hints at a growing hostility between Warren and White over Wall Street. In the 12-page letter, Warren asked Obama to replace White with another one of the two current SEC commissioners.
Warren also pointed out that White frequently ignored the stand of Congress and the administration, and instead pushed initiatives favorable to corporations, which cared little about the general public.
The Democratic senator alleged that White allowed dark money to boom after she took over from Mary Schapiro. White, a former U.S. attorney, removed disclosure from the list of rules on the agency's agenda and it hasn't come back since.
"For years, the Chair of the SEC, Mary Jo White, has refused to develop a political spending disclosure rule despite her clear authority to do so, and despite unprecedented and overwhelming investor and public support for such a rule," Warren mentioned in her letter.
"This brazen conduct is merely the most recent and prominent example of Chair White undermining your Administration's priorities and ignoring the SEC's core mission of investor protection. Instead of furthering disclosure of corporate activities, White has actively worked under the curious presumption that public companies currently disclose too much information," Warren said.
While White's refusal to take on a political spending rule has angered Warren and other key Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is likely to serve as the Senate's top Democrat in 2017 is not pleased either.
Warren, in her letter, also brought up White's push to potentially simplify corporate disclosures, calling it a "far-reaching, time-intensive, anti-disclosure initiative cooked up by big business lobbyists."
White had previously launched an initiative to avoid "information overload" which she pointed was caused by corporate disclosures. Warren, along with others, argued that the project would lead corporations to provide the public less information.
Warren also criticized the SEC's delays over implementing some lingering rules from the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which had been passed back in 2010.
It may be noted that Warren was one of the senators to vouch for White back in 2013. But since then, the two have fallen apart reaching the pinnacle on Friday with Warren's call for White to effectively be fired from her post.
Though Warren did not openly mention who should replace White, chances are she would push for Kara Stein, a Democratic commissioner who comes across as less friendly to the financial sector.
"I do not make this request lightly. I have tried both publicly and privately to persuade Chair White to direct the agency's resources toward pressing matters of compelling interest to investors and the public, and toward completing those rules that Congress has required it to implement.
"But after years of fruitless efforts, it is clear that Chair White is set on her course. The only way to return the SEC to its intended purpose is to change its leadership," Warren's letter concluded.
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