News around the beltway is all abuzz this morning after the president appointed Mary Jo White as the permanent replacement for Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In so doing, he is tapping a unique woman, who has served under several presidents and has been the center of many tough prosecutions in her time.
Mary Jo White served as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993 to 2002. Originally appointed by George HW Bush in 1992 as acting Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, President Clinton made her the permanent Attorney shortly after taking office. Since then she has taken on crime and corruption, tackling cases such as the John Gotti trial. There, she helped form the case which took the boss of the Gambino crime family off of the streets, where he served the remainder of his life behind bars. But more importantly, she handled the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case, convicting mastermind Ramzi Yousef of numerous counts of terror. He’s now serving life without possibility of parole in the federal penitentiary.
She has experience in white-collar crimes as well, leading major busts of penny stock manipulation schemes in 2000 which resulted in the arrest and convictions of over 100 people, one of the largest crackdowns on white-collar crime in US history. White’s office has won billions in restitution from major banking institutions for defrauding investors. When she retired from the US Attorney’s office in 2002, it was a major sigh of relief from the business worlds more corrupt elements.
She is someone who knows how to root out corruption, to find the information needed, and to get results. Wall Street had hoped for a business insider, but has instead gotten a vicious attack dog. This appointment comes on the heels of a newly empowered Securities and Exchange Commission, meaning that the administration has decided to get tough on big businesses who would seek to exploit people for profit.
That she is now being put back into a position of authority should have the bankers concerned. There is a new sheriff in town, and she will have a clean corporate culture in the US, one way or another.
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