Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, issued the following statement after her vote against Jay Clayton’s confirmation to be Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):
“Throughout the confirmation process, it became clear that Mr. Clayton’s long career representing companies regulated by the SEC will pose substantial conflicts of interest. Though Mr. Clayton did not fully respond to my request that he disclose all of his current and former clients, it is apparent that his past work will force him to recuse himself often and therefore limit the SEC’s ability to enforce the law. Moreover, Mr. Clayton’s lack of public service experience, or work in law enforcement, raise concerns, especially since he did not commit to hiring SEC staff with the background he lacks.
“As former Attorney General of Nevada, ground zero for the housing crisis, I saw firsthand the hardship borne by hardworking families when our financial regulators don’t enforce the law. A key responsibility of the SEC is to ensure integrity of our markets and protect retirees and mom-and-pop investors from fraud. Unfortunately, Mr. Clayton has given me no reason to believe he will do that, and therefore I cannot support his nomination.”
Last month, Cortez Masto wrote to Mr. Clayton, requesting details on his previous clients and the subsequent need for recusal for any issues pertaining to these clients that come before the SEC. Cortez Masto also raised concerns about Mr. Clayton’s work on behalf of corporations with ties to Russia and Iran.