President-elect Donald Trump added a fellow Penn graduate to his administration Wednesday, selecting 1988 Engineering graduate Jay Clayton to head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Clayton is currently a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, a New York law firm that represents Wall Street titans, most notably Goldman Sachs Group Inc. He returned to Penn for law school, graduating in 1993. He also holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Cambridge.
“Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive,” Trump, a 1968 Wharton graduate, said in a statement.
“If confirmed, we are going to work together with key stakeholders in the financial system to make sure we provide investors and our companies with the confidence to invest together in America,” Clayton said in the statement, adding that job creation will be his top priority as the commission’s chairman.
Clayton’s selection immediately came under scrutiny, since he would regulate the same Wall Street firms he worked to defend.
“This nomination of a Wall Street insider to regulate Wall Street proves that Donald Trump has no intention of getting tough on Wall Street,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, told the Washington Post.
Trump has now appointed ex-Goldman Sachs allies to several key posts. Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for secretary of the treasury, was a partner at the firm for 17 years; Stephen Bannon, Trump's selection for chief strategist, worked in the mergers and acquisitions department; and Gary Cohn, selected to head the National Economic Council, is the firm’s president and chief operating officer. Critics suggest that this runs counter to the billionaire’s nebulous campaign promises to end corruption of government and economic elites.