President Obama on Tuesday nominated Lisa M. Fairfax, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, and Hester Peirce, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and critic of financial reform, to serve as members of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Fairfax and Peirce would fill seats at the five-member SEC, which is chaired by Mary Jo White. One seat, left by departing Republican Daniel Gallagher, is currently vacant, and the term of one of the four current members, Democrat Luis A. Aguilar, expires this year.
Fairfax, a corporate governance expert, has experience in securities industry enforcement from her service on the review council of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private corporation that acts as a self-regulatory organization for the industry. In that role, she adjudicated appeals by brokerage firms and brokers accused of breaking the law.
If confirmed, she would become only the third African American commissioner out of 99 confirmed commissioners in the SEC’s history.
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Peirce is a well-known critic of the government’s Wall Street bailout and the legislation that expanded regulatory requirements after the financial crisis. She has written numerous articles criticizing the Dodd-Frank law and was editor of and contributor to a book titled “Dodd-Frank: What It Does and Why It’s Flawed.”
Her former boss, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), has pushed the administration to nominate her.
Before working in the Senate, Peirce spent eight years as an SEC staff attorney in the investment management division and as counsel to former commissioner Paul Atkins.
She has also clerked for Judge Roger B. Andewelt on the Court of Federal Claims and was an associate at a Washington law firm. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University and has a law degree from Yale University.
Fairfax is currently director of programs at GW’s center for law, economics and finance and earlier spent nine years teaching at the University of Maryland’s law school. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, she also spent five years as an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray.