Mixed Feelings on Cox As SEC Chairman
After turning 74 years old. current Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman William Donaldson is stepping down from the position as of June 30.
52-year-old Republican California Representative Christopher Cox has been nominated by President Bush to fill Donaldson’s position making many business leaders happy. He does still need Senate confirmation, however.
“This is the first head of the SEC who is coming in with a pretty much firsthand knowledge of the high-tech industry,” said head of electronics industry trade group AeA, Bill Archey.
Cox has a history of opposing new accounting rules for stock options and taxes on Internet commerce. Many are hoping that he will continue this stance.
Investors are not too thrilled with Bush’s choice for SEC chairman. Cox supported a bill that made it harder for investors to sue their companies. This obviously isn’t the way investors want to see companies policed.
“I fear that if Congressman Cox is confirmed, it will spell the death knell for reform efforts such as granting shareholders, the true owners of companies, the basic right to nominate candidates for corporate boards of directors,” said California State Treasurer Phil Angelides. “I hope the US Senate rejects Congressman Cox and tells President Bush to appoint an SEC Chair who will fight for real reform.”
Cox graduated from Harvard Law School, and has been a member of Congress since 1988. He served as the first chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and as a counsel to former President Reagan.
Cox supported the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and according to AP has also been a longtime advocate of repealing taxes on capital gains as well as on dividends.
“Donaldson has been a far stronger advocate for investors than we had any reason to expect in an administration that makes no secret of its support for limits on the role of government regulation,” said the Consumer Federation of America’s director of investor protection, Barbara Roper. “A new chairman could be far more sympathetic to corporate whining.”
President Bush originally selected Donaldson as the SEC’s in order to restore confidence to the stock market as it was plagued by scandals. Donaldson is resigning with two years left in his term. He told President Bush, “The time has come for me to step down and return to the private sector and my family.”