President Obama Nominates Mary Jo White to SEC

President Obama plans to stress enforcement of new Wall Street financial regulations and consumer regulations with a pair of nominations on Thursday.

President Obama nominated former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White on Thursday to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, pledging tough enforcement of new Wall Street regulations.

"We need to keep going after irresponsible behavior in the financial industry so that taxpayers don't have to keep paying the price," Obama said at the White House.

Also promising to uphold new laws protecting consumers, Obama will also renominated Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Obama had made Cordray a recess appointment after Senate Republicans opposed his initial nomination; the president praised Cordray's work in the position, saying he has "proved to be a champion of American consumers."

In urging the Senate to quickly confirm White and Cordray, Obama said mis-behavior in the financial industry led to the near-meltdown of the economy in 2008. That is why he signed new regulations into law during his first term, Obama said, affecting banks, mortgage brokers, credit card companies, and other lenders.

"But it's not enough to change the law," Obama said. "We also need cops on the beat to enforce the law."

During the Clinton administration, White served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. She specialized in white-collar crime, a key reason for her selection as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

During her tenure, White's office also won convictions related to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, and put mob boss John Gotti behind bars. "You don't mess with Mary Jo," Obama said.

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David Jackson
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