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Gallagher Sets End Date, Replacements Still Forthcoming

SEC Commissioner Dan Gallagher announced last week that he will leave the Commission no later than October 2. While he had stated in May that he would leave upon the appointment of his successor, he noted that “the need to bring greater clarity to my tenure has steadily grown.” While several candidates have been mentioned to replace both Gallagher and outgoing Commissioner Luis Aguilar, momentum for the nominations appears to have been stalled.

When plans to nominate corporate attorney Keir Gumbs to replace Aguilar surfaced several months ago, progressive groups aligned with Senator Elizabeth Warren complained about his ties to the corporate world. Instead, the groups suggested Jennifer Taub, a professor from Vermont Law School, who in 2014 published her first book, Other People's Houses: How Decades of Bailouts, Captive Regulators, and Toxic Bankers Made Home Mortgages a Thrilling Business. The latest rumor points to Lisa Fairfax, a professor of law at George Washington University, but the Wall Street Journal notes that Gumbs is scheduled to meet with Senator Elizabeth Warren this week. To replace Gallagher, the White House is planning to nominate Hester Peirce, a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Financial Markets Working Group at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Gallagher’s departure will leave just four commissioners at the helm of the SEC, but other agencies face more vacancies. For instance, after CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen resigned at the end of August, the CFTC was left with only three Commissioners. The other vacancy at the CFTC was created after Scott O’Malia left his post in August 2014. Despite multiple vacancies across financial agencies, only one nomination hearing has been scheduled thus far by the Senate Banking Committee. On September 10, the Committee will take up the nomination of Adam Szubin to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Treasury Department.