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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 2, 2005
President Nominates Congressman Chris Cox as SEC Chairman
The Roosevelt Room
10:24 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I'm pleased to announce my nomination of Congressman Chris Cox of California as our next Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a champion of the free enterprise system in Congress, Chris Cox knows that a free economy is built on trust. In the years ahead, Chris will vigorously enforce the rules and laws that guarantee honesty and transparency in our markets and corporate boardrooms. He will be an outstanding leader of the SEC.
Today the American economy is the envy of the world. Our economy is growing faster than that of any other industrialized country. We have added over 3.5 million new jobs during the last two years. The unemployment rate is down to 5.2 percent. More Americans are working today than ever before, small businesses are flourishing, families are taking home more of what they earn. To maintain the confidence that is the cornerstone of our economic system, we must ensure the honesty of American business, and the integrity of the capital markets and stock exchanges. Investors must have confidence that the information they use to make their investment decisions is fair and accurate.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is the primary federal agency that performs this essential function. The SEC investigates corporate fraud and holds guilty parties responsible when they mislead shareholders and employees.
For more than two years, Bill Donaldson has done an exceptional job as SEC Chairman. Bill took this post at a time when our economy was faced with a crisis in investor confidence. Under his leadership, the SEC vigorously responded to corporate corruption. The commission filed more than 1,700 enforcement actions under Bill Donaldson's chairmanship -- a significant increase from previous years. And the SEC has helped implement the Sarbanes-Oxley Act -- the most far-reaching reform of American business practices since the time of Franklin Roosevelt. The agency also responded swiftly to the mutual fund abuses that came to light nearly two years ago, enhancing disclosure to mutual fund shareholders.
Bill Donaldson has set high standards for American business and the SEC, and Chris Cox is the right man to carry on this important work.
For more than a decade and a half, Chris has been a superb representative for the 48th district of California. His achievements range from national security to tax reform. As the first Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Chris Cox helped coordinate efforts between the federal agencies and Congress to better protect our country against terrorist attacks. He worked effectively with members of both parties to get more than a dozen of his bills passed into law, including a law protecting investors from abusive lawsuits and a ban on Internet commerce taxes. Four years ago, I signed into law a bill that helps American families by phasing out the death tax. The drive to end the death tax was the product of an effort that Chris Cox helped lead for nearly a decade.
Chris understands how markets work, and he knows the need for transparency in financial exchanges and in the halls of business. He proved that he can bring people together of diverse opinions to get things done. That kind of leadership will be invaluable as the chairman of the SEC.
I've given Chris a clear mission: To continue to strengthen public trust in our markets so the American economy can continue to grow and create jobs. The nation is increasingly a nation of stock holders. A generation ago, only a small percentage of American families invested in stocks and bonds. Today, more than half of households are investing -- for their families and for their futures. Now more than ever, we must make sure Americans can rely upon the integrity of our markets.
Chris Cox is a good man to have taken on this job, and he'll do a fine job on behalf of the American people. He brings with him a unique combination of skills and expertise: He graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, he worked as a security lawyer for nearly a decade, he taught tax law, he served in President Reagan's White House, and was elected to Congress.
I thank Chris for his willingness to serve our country in another important position at an important time for our nation. I am grateful to his wife, Rebecca, and their three children, Charles, Katie and Kevin. I call on the Senate to confirm his nomination at the earliest possible date. Congratulations.
CONGRESSMAN COX: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
Mr. President, I want to thank you very much on behalf of my wife, Rebecca, and Charles, Katie and Kevin, who you were so nice to acknowledge. This is a big day because Charles, Katie and Kevin don't have to go to school this morning. (Laughter.) As we were walking into the Cabinet Room, I told my six-year-old son, Kevin, that the President of the United States used to own -- and he said, the Texas Rangers. (Laughter.)
Mr. President, should the United States Senate confirm me, I will be deeply honored to serve our country as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. It will be a special honor, if confirmed, to follow in the footsteps of Bill Donaldson, who has served the Commission and our country with honor and distinction.
The rule of law that the SEC enforces has given America the most dynamic and vibrant capital markets in the world. The unprecedented sharing of information about every productive part of our free enterprise economy is only made possible by clear and consistently enforced rules. And those rules have to govern every market participant equally -- big and small. In this amazing world of instant global communications, the free and efficient movement of capital is helping to create the greatest prosperity in human history. The natural enemies of this economic marvel are fraud and unfair dealing. Congress and your administration, Mr. President, have both done their part to strengthen the laws that protect investors and our financial markets. And if confirmed, I look forward to carrying out that mandate in the special role occupied by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC is one of the best run agencies in the federal government, and has been so for years. During my time as a securities practitioner, I was consistently impressed by the high caliber of professionals who regulate corporate finance and our markets. It will be an honor, if confirmed, to join this exceptional team.
As you know, my most recent assignment in Congress has been to chair the Homeland Security Committee, where I've seen from another vantage point the critical role that America's financial markets play in our society. The attacks of 9/11 were aimed very deliberately at the financial heart of America's economy. The Wall Street analysts, traders, accountants and bankers who were the victims of al Qaeda in the Twin Towers that day represented America's best and brightest. Their compatriots who still go to work each day in Manhattan and in Los Angeles and across the country are the men and women whose creativity, energy and leadership are powering our free enterprise system. The SEC will work with all of them as together we help to build a better America.
It's been a pleasure to work with you, Mr. President, as a member of the congressional leadership during these last five years of your administration. If confirmed, I look forward to the opportunity to serve our nation now in this new role as Chairman of the SEC. Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Congratulations. Thanks for taking it on.
Thank you all.
END 10:33 A.M. EDT