Before Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Schapiro announced she would step down, progressives were organizing a campaign to ensure President Obama picks a strong replacement. Now that Schapiro has made it official, those efforts are at a full boil.
CREDO Action launched a petition asking President Obama to “[a]ppoint an S.E.C. chair who will hold Wall Street accountable” which has gained over 41,000 signatures as of this morning. The clear thrust of the petition is that the appointment of a new SEC is a key inflection point in the battle to reform Wall Street—perhaps one of the last big opportunities President Obama will have:
Wall Street has countless well-paid spinmeisters and well funded public relations efforts that have sought to absolve Wall Street crooks of any responsibility for the financial collapse. According to their Orwellian version of history, the people who gambled in the Wall Street casino with taxpayer money didn’t do anything wrong. And according to their vision, the best thing the government can do to get the economy on track is just get out of Wall Street’s way. That would be a dangerous perspective for one of Wall Street’s top cops. Tell President Obama: Appoint a real champion for Wall Street accountability to the S.E.C.
The petition names several ideal choices, piggybacking off some recent suggestions by economist Simon Johnson in The New York Times: former prosecutor and TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky tops the list, which also includes former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman, former Senate aide and leader of the pro-reform group Better Markets Dennis Kelleher and former FDIC chair Sheila Blair.
In George Zornick’s previous post, he writes “Mary Shapiro’s Departure Creates an Opportunity for a Stronger SEC.”