| WASHINGTON, June 20
WASHINGTON, June 20 The Senate Banking Committee
will hold a confirmation hearing on June 27 for President Barack
Obama's two nominees to serve on the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, the committee announced on Thursday.
Kara Stein, a Democrat, and Michael Piwowar, a Republican,
would replace SEC commissioners Elisse Walter and Troy Paredes,
Stein is currently an aide to Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode
Island Democrat and a senior member of the banking panel.
Piwowar is chief economist for the committee, working under the
panel's ranking Republican, Mike Crapo, of Idaho.
Stein and Piwowar are expected to have fairly speedy
confirmations by the U.S. Senate, and neither is considered
They would join the SEC at a critical time. The agency is
under the leadership of a new chair, former federal prosecutor
Mary Jo White.
This week, White said the SEC would make major changes to
its settlement policy by trying to require defendants in some
select cases to admit wrongdoing. That is a departure from past
practice, in which the SEC has routinely in most cases allowed
defendants to neither admit nor deny charges.
The change comes on the heels of criticism from some federal
judges who have denied or challenged settlements on the grounds
they are too weak. But defense lawyers are warning the new
policy may hinder the SEC's ability to reach settlements.
All settlements must be approved by the majority of the
SEC's five commissioners, meaning Stein and Piwowar's votes
could be crucial.
In addition, the SEC is facing a major backlog of rulemaking
that needs to be completed under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street
reform law, and it is under pressure to complete rules required
by a 2012 law that eases securities regulations to help small
businesses raise capital.
Separately, the SEC is mulling a controversial proposal to
impose new regulations on money market mutual funds.