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    Democrats Are Fed Up with the SEC’s Weak Financial Crimefighting

    The progressive movement has declared war on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its chair, Mary Jo White. An uncoordinated yet scathing series of reports, letters and appeals have honed in on the New Deal-era regulatory body. And the fight is really about the agency’s long-term direction, as vacancies on the commission open up: Will it maintain the same industry-friendly posture of light-touch regulatory enforcement and ineffective rulemaking, or can a shift be made? Given the growing importance of the SEC, reformers are using whatever leverage they have to influence the outcome. You might believe Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 13-page letter to White, expressing personal disappointment with her tenure, kicked off this uproar. But separately, a growing discontent with the SEC has emerged within the financial reform community, and even within the agency itself. Former officials have called the SEC dysfunctional and even warned colleagues from joining up. More on The New Republic here.

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    UPDATE 2-SEC seeks public feedback to inform policy for exchange-traded products

    U.S. securities regulators are asking the public to weigh in on how new and novel exchange-traded products should be listed, marketed and traded, as part of an effort to potentially write new rules for the sector. The Securities and Exchange Commission cited an ever-increasing number of requests by funds to launch new kinds of complex products and investment strategies. “Exchange-traded products have become an increasingly important investment vehicle to market participants ranging from individuals to large institutional investors,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White in a statement. More on Reuters here.

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    Federal Judge Rules SEC In-House Judge’s Appointment ‘Likely Unconstitutional’

    A federal judge ruled Monday that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s use of an in-house judge to preside over an insider-trading case was “likely unconstitutional,” a potential blow to the agency’s controversial use of its internal tribunal. The decision possibly creates a serious headache for the SEC, which is increasingly using its five administrative-law judges to hear its cases, rather than sending them to federal court, legal experts said. Although the ruling was preliminary, and won’t necessarily be duplicated in other federal courts, it could have ramifications for other SEC cases and potentially other federal agencies. More in The Wall Street Journal here.

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    SEC Bickering Stalls Mary Jo White’s Agenda

    Mary Jo White took the helm of the Securities and Exchange Commission vowing to “expeditiously” finalize its mountain of postcrisis rules. Two years later, that pledge has been thwarted by bickering among its five members. The slow pace of progress has singled Ms. White out for criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, who have faulted her leadership or her approach to regulation and enforcement. The gridlock also has delayed the completion of some probes into financial misconduct. “I have more stamina than anyone I know and need all of it for this job,” Ms. White told a colleague early in her tenure, referring to her demanding schedule, according to people familiar with the conversation. More in The Wall Street Journal here.

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    Elizabeth Warren Calls S.E.C. Chief’s Tenure ‘Disappointing’

    Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has taken on Wall Street banks and the issue of income inequality, is now going after Mary Jo White, the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a 13-page letter to Ms. White on Tuesday, Ms. Warren called her two-year stewardship of the S.E.C. “extremely disappointing” and not in keeping with the kind of leadership that Ms. White had promised to deliver during her Senate confirmation hearing. The senator said Ms. White had been slow to promulgate rules with regards to chief executive pay and failed to require companies settling enforcement actions to admit to wrongdoing. Ms. Warren also took issue with Ms. White having to recuse herself from too many matters her husband’s law firm has worked on and being too deferential when it came to giving Wall Street investment firms that had pleaded guilty to violating securities laws. More in the New York Times here.

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