Senators to Evaluate SEC Nominees

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing next Tuesday on nominees to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The committee expects to take up the nomination of Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) to be chairman of the SEC and two proposed Democratic nominees, although the White House has not yet formally submitted the names of the two Democrats.

Cox, a former corporate lawyer and a self-described free market conservative, was nominated by President Bush last month to replace retiring chairman William H. Donaldson. Senate Democrats have proposed nominating SEC commissioner Roel C. Campos, a Democrat whose first five-year term expired in June, and Annette L. Nazareth, who leads the agency's division of market regulation.

Virginia Davis, a spokeswoman for Banking Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), previously said the lawmaker wants to consider all three nominees at the same time.

But the committee yesterday announced a hearing without listing the names of candidates it would question. Senate aides said yesterday that the three SEC nominees would be packaged together if final paperwork is completed before the July 26 hearing. As of yesterday, the committee had not yet received formal papers from the White House on either Campos and Nazareth.

Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, said yesterday that she would not "speculate" on the timing of other SEC personnel moves.

Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have called on the White House to submit the three nominees as a group, to preserve a full complement of commissioners on the five-member panel. The SEC has divided sharply in recent months, in disagreements that boiled over at a heated June 29 meeting, the last of Donaldson's chairmanship.

Agency leaders have parted ways over proposals to bar mutual fund board chairmen from having management ties. They also disagreed over imposing large financial penalties on corporations and their shareholders, rather than only on individual executives who engaged in wrongdoing.

Commissioner Harvey J. Goldschmid, a Democrat who is to return to his teaching post at Columbia University law school in the fall, told lawmakers earlier this summer that he would remain at the agency until his replacement is confirmed by the Senate.

It is not clear whether the nominees will be confirmed by the full Senate before lawmakers break for their August recess at the end of next week.

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