Jay Clayton, Donald Trump’s pick for Securities and Exchange Commission chair, has a lower public profile than most of Trump’s cabinet picks. One thing he does share with many of Trump’s closest advisers are deep ties to Goldman Sachs.
Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, has an op-ed in the New York Daily News on the ethical dilemmas Clayton would bring to the position:
[W]e’ll be asked to take on faith that Clayton can approve industry-wide regulations without undue influence from Goldman, since matters of “general application” — those applying to all firms — aren’t covered by recusal laws.
If that sounds like it could be a tad, well, conflicted, then consider Clayton’s position on the main legal tool for combatting bribery, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law the SEC enforces. In a 2011 paper, Clayton argued that U.S. firms faced an undue burden because foreign companies don’t face similarly stringent enforcement. An SEC chairman can’t change the law, but he can dramatically scale back its application.
Clayton should lay out detailed views on this issue at his confirmation hearing, to demonstrate he is affirmatively not pro-bribery, and so senators can make an informed choice.
But that’s only the beginning. If he is confirmed, Clayton is going to have to systematically distance himself from the big bank to which he is closely connected and commit to police Wall Street.
At a minimum, he must recuse himself from any matter involving Goldman Sachs, his client and his wife’s employer.
You can read the rest of her article here.
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