WASHINGTON (AP) — Mary Jo White, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, has represented an A-list of banks and corporations that could raise conflict-of-interest questions during her confirmation hearing.
White's financial disclosure form was made public Friday and includes a list of clients from her years as a corporate litigator. Among them are several Fortune 100 companies — JPMorgan Chase, General Electric, Microsoft, Hess and Verizon — Switzerland's largest bank and the world's biggest automaker, Toyota.
White says she will remove herself from any decision affecting a former client for one year after she represented them.
The Senate must confirm White before she can take office. While her former clients could draw attention, many of her predecessors also took office with clients that posed conflicts of interest.
White, a former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, would become the first ex-prosecutor to head the SEC in its 79-year history.
Her disclosure form shows assets of between $6 million and $27 million spread between a number of investment and retirement funds. Some of them are jointly held with her husband, John White, who also is a corporate lawyer.
Federal law only requires her to provide a range for her assets.
White also said in a separate letter to the SEC's ethics officer that she would step aside from all decisions before the SEC brought by her husband's firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore. In addition, her husband will sell his shares in several investment funds.
The SEC chairman and commissioners must vote to approve enforcement actions against companies or individuals. The agency has been criticized in recent years for not bringing charges against top executives of major banks that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
White's pledges to recuse herself from decisions affecting former clients or current clients of her husband are in line with federal ethics guidelines for agency officials. In both cases, she said she would step aside unless she gets a specific exemption from the SEC ethics officer.
S&P Lawsuit Emails Reveal Analysts Saw Problems With Quality of Ratings
According to a federal lawsuit, a 2007 email allegedly written by an investment banker to an S&P analyst included <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/sp-lawsuit-emails_n_2623933.html?utm_hp_ref=business" target="_hplink">this statement</a>. Other emails sent by S&P suggested that analysts were very much aware of how little quality control was valued at S&P.
The "Fabulous Fab" Email
Goldman Sachs Vice President Fabrice Tourre sent <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/fabrice-tourre-fabulous-fab-2010-4" target="_hplink">internal emails</a> suggesting he had <a href="http://articles.marketwatch.com/2010-04-16/industries/30812338_1_fabulous-fab-tourre-exotic-trades" target="_hplink" target="_hplink">major doubts </a>about the collateralized debt obligations he sold to investors in early 2007.
S&P Employee and Collaterized Debt Obligations
In an internal email sent in December of 2006, an S&P employee indicated that he knew <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/u-s-and-states-prepare-to-sue-s-p-over-mortgage-ratings/" target="_hplink">how bad collateralized debt obligations</a> were before the heart of the financial crisis, The New York Times reported.
Goldman Sachs Traders On Subprime Mortgages
By 2006, Goldman Sachs traders were internally describing subprime home mortgages in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/investigation-goldman-sachs_n_1765368.html" target="_hplink">a very negative light</a>.
Former Merrill Lynch Analyst Henry Blodget
Blodget <a href="http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1938544,00.html#ixzz2K3H3Vm5H" target="_hplink">encouraged investors </a>to buy stocks that he privately wrote in emails were not good investments, to say the least, Time reported in 2009.
Barclays Traders and Libor
In private emails, Barclays traders wrote incriminating statements indicating <a href="http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/06/27/1062301/libor-manipulation-done-for-you-big-boy/" target="_hplink">the manipulation of libor</a>, the Financial Times reported.
JPMorgan Chase <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/18/jpmorgan-idUSN1829544020110218?WT.tsrc=Social Media&WT.z_smid=twtr-reuters_ com&WT.z_smid_dest=Twitter" target="_hplink" target="_hplink"> claimed</a> in a lawsuit that Lehman deceived JPMorgan with bad assets, which Lehman employees allegedly referred to internally as "goat poo."
Merrill Lynch Analysts
Back in the early 2000s, then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer used internal emails from Merrill Lynch to prove that the bank continually promoted stocks -- <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/finance/2002-04-15-spitzer-email-evidence.htm" target="_hplink">such as Internet company GoTo.com</a> -- that it did not really believe in.
Morgan Stanley Bankers
Morgan Stanley bankers openly joked about <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/morgan-stanley-cdo-emails_n_2535784.html">a toxic investment</a> they were creating in 2007 and debated naming it "Shitbag," "Nuclear Holocaust," "Subprime Meltdown" and "Mike Tyson's Punchout," according to recently unearthed emails. The bankers later agreed upon the name "Stack."