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News > World

Trump Taps Wall Street Defender for SEC Job

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011.

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 January 2017

A lawyer who helped Wall Street banks "weasel out" of responsibility amid subprime mortgage crisis is now set to regulate Wall Street. 

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump nominated Wall Street lawyer Walter “Jay” Clayton to be the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, on Wednesday. Clayton, who has previously worked for Goldman Sachs, also defended the actions of big banks during the subprime mortgage crisis.

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In a statement, Trump said that Clayton “will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time.”    

“We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers,” Trump continued.

Clayton is currently a partner in New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell and at the height of 2008 financial crisis represented a number of big banks that were accused of fraudulently issuing and underwriting predatory mortgage deals before the mortgage industry collapsed. He also previously worked as an advisor for Goldman Sachs to help it negotiate bailouts and investments.

Clayton is expected to scale back SEC regulations, making it easier for big businesses to maneuver.

Clayton was referred to as an “attorney who's spent his career helping Wall Street beat the rap,” said Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

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Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said that Clayton “had spent his career helping big banks weasel out of accountability for robbing millions of Americans of their life savings and crushing our economy.”

​​​​​​​Green added that his the nomination had even seen Trump betray his own voters. “Trump supporters did not vote to let the fox guard the henhouse on Wall Street.”

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