Trump’s nominee to lead the SEC comes from a deep corporate background. Will he serve the people or Wall Street as Chair?
Name: Jay Clayton
Trump’s pick for: Chairman of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
Corporate Connection: Goldman Sachs, Ally Financial, Alibaba Group
Walter “Jay” Clayton has such deep ties to the financial industry that he may have to recuse himself from many major enforcement actions his agency undertakes. Clayton is a partner with Sullivan & Cromwell, a Wall Street law firm. According to The New York Times, Sullivan & Cromwell has been Goldman Sachs’ “go-to law firm for more than a century.” His wife, Gretchen Clayton, is a wealth management adviser at Goldman Sachs — whose activities fall squarely under the purview of the SEC. He was the lead signatory to the New York Bar Association’s 2011 research paper complaining that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) — that is, the enforcement of international anti-bribery law — imposes unreasonable costs on U.S. corporations. The SEC enforces the FCPA. The report was part of a coordinated campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to limit enforcement of laws against overseas corruption. Clayton represented Italian oil firm Eni in an FCPA case alleging Nigerian officials were bribed with suitcases full of cash.
- Because of Clayton’s wife’s Goldman Sachs income, a congressional aide said “Clayton will be the most financially conflicted SEC chairman in history.” He will be required to recuse himself from enforcement actions against Goldman Sachs, but not regulatory actions that could impact Goldman Sachs’ profits.
- Regarding Clayton’s Goldman Sachs recusals, Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote, “Who needs an SEC chief who has to stay on the sidelines for some of the most important cases the agency considers? It’s like having a police commissioner who has to cover his ears every time someone mentions the Crips or the Latin Kings.”
- Clayton advised Goldman Sachs on the $5 billion investment it received from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway during the financial crisis.
- Before the financial crisis, Clayton advised Bear Stearns during its sale to JPMorgan Chase.
- During the crisis, he advised Barclays Capital in buying up assets left by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The transaction has been criticized as “the greatest bank robbery you never heard of.”
- He represented Ally Financial in connection with the $25 billion settlement related to robo-signing and other foreclosure abuses with the federal government and state attorneys general.
- He advised the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group on its $25 billion initial public offering, the largest ever IPO.
Last update: 1/11/17
New York Times, March 16, 2017
Ex-Workers at S.E.C. Nominee’s Firm Urge Him to Denounce Travel Ban
The Hill, March 13, 2017
Jay Clayton as SEC chair akin to a fox guarding a hen house
Center for American Progress, March 8, 2017
Questions for the Potential Next Sheriff of Wall Street
Bloomberg, February 23, 2017
Trump Wants a Pro-Business SEC. That Has Some Investors Worried
NY Daily News, February 22, 2017
Will SEC chair nominee Walter Clayton represent the people or be compromised by Goldman Sachs connections?
Reuters, February 22, 2017
Clayton seen making some fast moves at SEC on IPOS, disclosures
Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2017
Trump’s Man for the SEC: Time to Ease Regulation
CRC Blog, February 16, 2017
Wall Street Agent or Responsible Chair?
Sample Social Media Posts
Jay Clayton’s nomination for SEC chair is scheduled for March 23. Urge the Senate Banking Committee to vote no: ResistTheHostileTakeover.org
.@SenSherrodBrown is right: Jay Clayton is unfit to serve as chair of the SEC. Join the resistance: ResistTheHostileTakeover.org
Jay Clayton & the banks he represented played a leading role in the 2008 financial crisis. Unfit to be chair of the SEC? Yes.
Jay Clayton, ex-Wall St. banker, is Trump’s nominee to police Wall St. Conflict of interest much? Tell the Senate: ResistTheHostileTakeover.org
@Lisa_PubCitizen: will SEC chair nominee Clayton represent the people or be compromised by Goldman Sachs ties? http://nydn.us/2l3rfYU
Trump’s nominee for SEC Chair wants to ease regulations on Wall Street. http://on.wsj.com/2kOVxhX
Who is Jay Clayton? A Wall Street agent or responsible SEC Chair? Senators should ask these questions to find out. http://bit.ly/2kXDHfX
Trump’s nominee to head the SEC is married to the industry he’s supposed to police. http://rol.st/2iWSjeZ By @mtaibbi @RollingStone.