June 02, 2015

Senator Warren Letter to SEC Chair White Details Concerns with Lax Agency Enforcement, Slow Rulemaking

Letter Expresses "Disappointment" in Chair White's Leadership; Seeks Information About "Significant Gap" Between Chair White’s Public Promises and Her Performance as SEC Chair

Read a PDF copy of the letter here

WASHINGTON, DC- In a 13-page letter sent to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) raised serious concerns about the agency's regulatory and enforcement record during the past two years. The Senator explained that Chair White's leadership of the Commission for the past two years has been "extremely disappointing," with the agency failing to "consistently and aggressively enforce securities law and protect investors and the public" under her watch.

Senator Warren's letter highlighted four key areas where Chair White appears to have broken promises made to members of the Senate: the SEC's failure to finalize rules requiring disclosure of the ratio of CEO pay to the median worker; its failure to curb the use of waivers for companies that violate securities law; the agency's continued practice of settling the vast majority of cases without requiring meaningful admissions of guilt; and Chair White's repeated recusals related to her prior employment and her husband's current employment.

In addition to these four areas, the Senator expressed concern with the SEC's failure to address undisclosed corporate campaign contributions, the agency's rulemakings that have created large loopholes in Dodd-Frank disclosure rules, and its rules for small business capital formation that preempted important state consumer protections.

"I voted for your nomination despite my concerns about your lack of experience as a regulator," wrote Senator Warren. The Senator continued: "I am disappointed by the significant gap between the promises you made during and shortly after your confirmation and your performance as SEC Chair."

"The public relies on the SEC to act as the cop on the beat for an honest marketplace-issuing rules that ensure that investors can make informed decisions and holding rule breakers accountable for their actions," Senator Warren wrote. "When the SEC falls down on the job, the impact is felt throughout the economy as it touches every American family." "I am disappointed that you have not been the strong leader that many hoped for - and that you promised to be."

The Senator's letter asks Chair White to provide information about inconsistencies in her public statements regarding the CEO pay disclosure rules and a timeline for its completion, a list of SEC settlements and whether they required an admission of guilt, details of SEC waiver decisions, a list of her recusals from investigations or cases, and an explanation of why the SEC removed campaign finance disclosure from its agenda.

Read the letter here.