Mary Jo White, and her husband John

"Mary Jo White (born December 27, 1947) is the 31st and current Chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. ...She was confirmed by the Senate on April 8, 2013 and was sworn into office on April 10, 2013.

For the past 10 years, she has been chair of the litigation department at Debevoise & Plimpton.

It has been asserted summarily in Rolling Stone magazine that, among other duties at Debevoise, White has used her influence and connections to protect certain Wall Street CEOs from prosecution, including a notable case involving the firing of Gary J. Aguirre for investigations into the CEO of Morgan Stanley executive John J. Mack."

Between White and her husband, they represent every too-big-to-fail firm on Wall Street. (Under ethics laws for members of the Executive branch, the conflicts of interest of White’s spouse become her conflicts of interest. And he will remain in his job.)

...Even if Mary Jo White is retiring from representing Wall Street clients, what happens when she sits down for dinner with her husband, John White, who continues to represent Wall Street clients. Does she say: “Oh by the way, honey, I’m sorry I had to prosecute your best client today; the one that provides a big part of your billable hours.”

Senator Sherrod Brown said:  “At a time when our Attorney General says that the biggest Wall Street banks are in many ways above the law and the SEC is blocking shareholders’ efforts to break up the banks that they own, we need regulators who will fight every day for taxpayers, Main Street investors, and retirees. But too often we have seen public servants who settle for the status quo, instead of demanding accountability.

“...I do question Washington’s long-held bias towards Wall Street and its inability to find watchdogs outside of the very industry that they are meant to police.”

"On March 5, 2005, John W. White, partner at the international law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, which represents Wall Street firms and large corporations around the world, was not at all happy with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  That’s the part of the financial reform legislation that requires the auditor of publicly traded companies to attest to management’s assessment of its internal controls for financial reporting to the public.

White penned a 5-page, single-spaced letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, outlining his objections. He wanted the rules to be watered down.  Less than a year later, White was in a position to personally get the job done. After 30 years as a corporate attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, representing the interests of financial firms, White was magically transported to a top slot at the SEC. On February 8, 2006, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox named White the Director of the Division of Corporation Finance.

...John White returned to his partner status at Cravath less than three years later and remains there today.

Back in the spring of 2009, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made the following remark on a local radio show: “And the banks — hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created — are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”  A few months later, on the Bill Moyers’ PBS program, Durbin was asked about that remark and added:  “It’s counterintuitive. The people who brought this crisis to us are the ones that are dictating policy.”

And here we are in 2013, witnessing the second term of the President of “hope” and “change.” The banks still “own the place,” and their preferred lawyers will head the U.S. Treasury Department, the General Counsel of the SEC, and the SEC. Is it any wonder the American public continues to lack trust in Wall Street or Washington.

"This is White’s timeline in and out of Debevoise and in and out of the federal prosecutor offices:

2002 to Present: Debevoise and Plimpton partner, representing some of Wall Street’s largest firms: JPMorgan, UBS, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley.

1993 to 2002: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (where Wall Street is located);

1990 to 1993: First Assistant United States Attorney and Acting United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York;

1983 to 1990: Litigation partner at Debevoise and Plimpton, where she focused on white collar defense work, SEC enforcement matters and other corporate work.

1978 to 1981: Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she became Chief Appellate Attorney of the Criminal Division.

1976 to 1978: Associate at Debevoise and Plimpton."


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