Roisman's non-traditional confirmation process

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WASHINGTON - The Senate appears poised to move ahead with the nomination of Elad Roisman to the Securities and Exchange Commission, despite not yet having a Democrat nominee to seat at the same time.

The full Senate is scheduled to hold a vote ending debate of Roisman’s nomination Sept. 4, just shy of two weeks after the Senate Banking Committee gave him their recommendation. A Republican who previously served as counsel to former Commissioner Daniel Gallagher, Roisman has minimal formal experience in the muni market but according to Gallagher was instrumental in advising the former commissioner on muni matters. If confirmed, Roisman would fill the seat vacated by Michael Piwowar in July.

But President Donald Trump has not yet formally nominated a Democrat to replace Commissioner Kara Stein, who is due to be replaced. Rumblings in early August indicated that the White House was strongly considering former SEC enforcement lawyer Allison Lee for the job, but there has yet to be an announcement.

For the past 20 years, it has been the practice to seat two new commissioners of different parties simultaneously so as to maintain a non-partisan balance. Democrat Robert Jackson and Republican Hester Peirce, for example, were both sworn in at the same time in January. Moving ahead with Roisman’s nomination without nominating a Democrat to confirm with him would be a break in that tradition.

It is possible that Democrats could fight Roisman’s confirmation in an effort to force the administration to nominate a Democrat, but Roisman has been a non-controversial nominee so far and won committee approval via a voice vote.

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