President-elect Trump has nominated Jay Clayton, a partner at Wall Street law firm Sullivan & Cromwell with close ties to Goldman Sachs, to be the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is charged with developing policy and enforcing laws governing the nation’s financial institutions.
Clayton is no stranger to the laws and policies of the SEC having defended numerous clients – particularly big banks during the financial crisis – from litigation. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) described Clayton as an “attorney who’s spent his career helping Wall Street beat the rap.”
In a campaign speech in Ottumwa, Iowa almost a year ago, then-candidate Trump shared his views on Wall Street and the dangers of allowing too much free reign.”I know Wall Street. I know the people on Wall Street…. I’m not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us.”
The question remains whether Jay Clayton can successfully navigate from being the lawyer who helped his clients shirk their responsibilities after causing the most dramatic financial meltdown in recent history to being the government’s chief enforcer.