WASHINGTON - Former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt is urging Mary Schapiro, President Obama's nominee to head the SEC, to bring municipal securities back to the fore of the agency's agenda as part of her plans for reform.

Levitt headed the SEC from 1993 to 2001 and made reform on the muni market one of his top concerns. He said last week that Schapiro, if confirmed by the Senate, should beef up the staff of the commission's Office of Municipal Securities and recast it as a stand-alone department that reports directly to her, similar to the way it operated during the Clinton administration.

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