The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing March 12 to consider President Obama’s nomination of Mary Jo White as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the committee announced Tuesday.
The committee will also consider Obama’s nomination of Richard Cordray as director of the Consume Financial Protection Bureau.
The full Senate must confirm them for the posts, but the committee must first vote to recommend the Senate take such action.
Obama nominated White, a leading criminal defense lawyer and former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in late January. If confirmed, she will succeed current chairman Elisse Walter, who took over after Mary Schapiro stepped down last December. Walter can remain a commissioner until the end of this year.
Market participants said in January that White, as a former prosecutor, could bring a greater focus on enforcement to the SEC.
She currently heads Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s litigation department and has been a white-collar criminal defense attorney at the firm for 10 years. She has represented clients like former Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis, who was charged with civil securities fraud by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
She was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002, and helped prosecute Omar Abdel Rahman, who conspired to bomb the United Nations, and Ramzi Yousef, who helped plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
White was also first assistant U.S. Attorney and acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and a director of the Nasdaq stock exchange.
However, White’s previous work and her previous clients could force her to recuse herself from some matters.
That’s because an executive order from President Obama in 2009 requires all government appointees to pledge that they will not, for a period of two years after being appointed, “participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to ... former employer or former clients.”
Federal laws also prohibit government employees from participating in matters that have a “direct and predictable” effect on that their financial interests.
White’s husband John White was director of the SEC’s division of corporation finance from 2006 to 2008.