Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton, who defended big banks against regulators during the financial crisis, is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the federal agency charged with policing Wall Street.
Clayton, a partner with the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, is Trump’s nominee for chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In that role, the Washington Post reports, Clayton “would play a key role in Trump’s efforts to usher in a period of deregulation, including undoing parts of 2010’s financial reform legislation, known as the Dodd-Frank Act.”
“Jay Clayton has spent his career helping big banks weasel out of accountability for robbing millions of Americans of their life savings and crushing our economy.”
—Adam Green, Progressive Change Campaign Committee
He is among several of Trump’s cabinet nominees with ties to Goldman Sachs, continuing what Bloomberg described as “a surprise coup for financial firms since Trump won the presidency in November.” He has also worked on major deals involving Barclays, Bear Stearns, and, according to his Sullivan & Cromwell bio, several “large financial institutions” that have settled with the government on toxic mortgage claims.
Marcus Stanley, policy director for Americans for Financial Reform, told the Post that Clayton’s was “not the appropriate background for a top position policing Wall Street.” The SEC is responsible for protecting investors, regulating financial markets, and “rooting out financial crime,” as CNN puts it.
Others agreed, saying Clayton’s appointment was yet another example of Trump failing to follow through on campaign promises.
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