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August 9, 2013

Independent Agencies, Sometimes in Name Only

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan had to fill a Democratic slot on the Securities and Exchange Commission. He chose a young lawyer and economist, Joseph A. Grundfest.

He did not have to look very far to find Mr. Grundfest, who is now a law professor at Stanford. “At the time,” Mr. Grundfest recalled this week, “I was working in the Reagan White House as counsel and senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers.”

Under the law, no more than three members of the S.E.C. can be from the same party, so the seat had to go to someone who was not a Republican. Mr. Grundfest was a registered Democrat. The fact that he was serving in a Republican administration did not disqualify him, and he easily won Senate confirmation.

This year, two new members of the S.E.C., one Democrat and one Republican, have been confirmed by the Senate and are about to be sworn in. They were each nominated by President Obama. But the reality appears to be that he did not really choose them.”

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Read full New York Times article here

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