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Nov. 26

Exit of SEC Chair Mary Schapiro Provides New Opportunity For Administration to Enhance Wall Street Reform

Watchdog Calls For a Tougher Agency Under More Aggressive Leadership

Contact: Barbara Holzer (202) 588-7716; Jake Parent (202) 588-7779

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Chairman Mary Schapiro announced her decision to leave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “President Obama should appoint an aggressive, tested, zealous consumer advocate to replace Mary Schapiro at the SEC,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

Following the greatest financial crisis in American history, with lawsuits detailing widespread scams and frauds in the securities markets, the SEC under Schapiro failed to prosecute any figure of note. “There’s no clearer method of changing the culture of avarice on Wall Street then a steady diet of ‘perp walks’ and profiles of Wall Street miscreants adapting to life in prison,” said Bart Naylor, Public Citizen’s financial policy advocate.

Schapiro also missed an opportunity to make progress on the critical rules required by statute to implement the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform. “Rather than take advantage of the fullest powers Congress authorized, Schapiro’s SEC routinely favored industry positions. Worse, she left critical rules unwritten altogether,” said Gilbert. These include rules to reform high-flying executive pay plans that encourage casino-style gambling at taxpayer-guaranteed banks.

“President Barack Obama’s most direct path to realize his promise to ensure that Wall Street serves Main Street and consumers will be through a zealous chair of the SEC,” added Naylor. “Commissioner Elisse Walter will serve as chair until another is appointed, and ideally, the President will ultimately name a strong consumer advocate to that key role.”

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