Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called for his Senate colleagues to block President Trump’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Sanders said Jay Clayton, a partner at law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, was “the embodiment of the greed that nearly destroyed the economy” and unfit to lead Wall Street’s watchdog.
“We need somebody who is prepared to confront the system, not someone who is part of the system,” said Sanders.
Clayton will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday during his confirmation hearing. Democrats have consistently attacked Clayton’s Wall Street career, but are powerless to stop his confirmation without Republicans on their side. No Republicans have expressed opposition to Clayton.
Clayton has represented corporate giants in business mergers and acquisitions, as well as public offerings. He’s also helped corporations and Wall Street firms settle or fight cases brought against them by the federal government.
“Mr. Clayton has spent his career providing get-out-of-jail free cards to Wall Street executives and helping financial institutions avoid government regulation and fines,” said Sanders.
Even so, SEC commissioners appointed by both parties often come into the job with extensive corporate law experience. Former SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White led law firm Debevoise & Plimpton’s litigation department, which represented several high-power Wall Street firms, before leading President Obama’s SEC.