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SEC, DOL nominees disclose holdings

Jay Clayton
Jay Clayton

Jay Clayton, the nominee for SEC chairman, pledged to recuse himself from matters involving clients of his law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, and divest his investments within 90 days of confirmation, according to documents disclosed Wednesday.

The law firm's clients include Deutsche Bank, UBS Securities, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada and Pershing Square LP.

Documents filed with the Office of Government Ethics showed 176 investment holdings and assets held by Mr. Clayton and his wife in the range of $52 million to $130 million. His wife, Gretchen Butler Clayton, works at Goldman Sachs & Co. as a private wealth adviser but will resign when he is confirmed. His earnings last year were at least $7.6 million.

Mr. Clayton said in his disclosure letter that he will continue to participate in the Sullivan & Cromwell LLP defined benefit plan and a supplemental pension plan for partners, but has already resigned from several trustee positions and as an adjunct professor at University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Mr. Clayton's professional connections with Wall Street prompted several progressive groups, including Public Citizen and Allied Progress, to oppose his nomination and to ask members of the Senate Banking Committee — who will consider his confirmation March 23 — to demand a more comprehensive list of all current and former clients, both domestic and international.

Disclosures by President Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, released Thursday are proving less controversial. Mr. Acosta is dean of Florida International University College of Law and chairman of the board of U.S. Century Bank in Doral, Fla. He has promised to resign from those positions when confirmed. His income from those positions in 2016 included $379,620 in salary from Florida International University and $170,000 in director fees from U.S. Century Bank, and his investment accounts are less than $1 million in total.

Mr. Acosta already has been approved by the Senate for two previous posts as a former assistant attorney general and a member of the National Labor Relations Board. His confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is March 15.