WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission member and prominent Columbia University law professor Harvey Goldschmid died on Thursday at the age of 74, the law school said.
Goldschmid served as a Democratic commissioner at the SEC from 2002 to 2005. Before that, he also worked as the agency's general counsel from 1998 to 1999, and served as a special advisor to former SEC Chair Arthur Levitt.
Joel Seligman, the president of the University of Rochester and a leading expert on securities law, described Goldschmid as the most influential SEC commissioner in history who never rose to become chair of the agency.
"Harvey was in a class by himself in terms of understanding the securities laws," Seligman said.
"He did everything one could have done as a leading figure in securities regulation despite having not been appointed chair."
Goldschmid's SEC term coincided with the implementation of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law, which was passed by Congress in the wake of high-profile accounting scandals at Enron and Worldcom.
He had a reputation for being a crusader for investor rights. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve at the SEC alongside former Republican Chair Bill Donaldson.
Although the two came from different political points of view, they managed to find some common ground, forming what became known as the Donaldson-Goldschmid alliance.
The two of them, along with former SEC commissioner Roel Campos, were able to push through a number of controversial rules over the objections of the SEC's other two Republican members.
Goldschmid was frequently quoted in the press for his views on financial regulation.
He was also a member of the governing board for the Center for Audit Quality, and previously served as a public governor for Wall Street's self-funded regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
"The range of Harvey's professional accomplishments is astonishing," said CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli.
"His contributions to the body of knowledge in corporate, securities, and antitrust law have been significant." (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Christian Plumb)