SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson isn’t ready to leave the agency just yet, even though work to find his successor is well underway.
The Democratic-leaning independent won’t teach this fall at the New York University School of Law, where he is on leave, he told Bloomberg Law Aug. 26. The Securities and Exchange Commission member declined to comment on his plans beyond this year, however.
Jacskon’s term expired in June, but he has the option to stay about 18 more months, unless President Donald Trump nominates and the Senate confirms a successor. He joined the commission in January 2018.
His departure would leave Democrat Allison Lee as the SEC’s only left-leaning member. Democrats still are reviewing candidates for Jackson’s seat, a person familiar with the process told Bloomberg Law earlier this month. They traditionally advise the White House on nominees to succeed left-leaning members when a Republican is president.
“Although my Term here expired in June, I intend to continue to serve on the Commission rather than return to teaching for the Fall semester,” Jackson said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to support the Commission’s critical efforts to protect the ordinary American investors who rely on our markets to build their families’ futures.”
He regularly clashes with SEC Chairman Jay Clayton over whether the Republican-leaning independent’s rulemaking plans would benefit investors, most notably voting against new conflict-of-interest rules for brokers this year.
Jackson also has raised concerns about corporate stock buybacks, SEC oversight of stock exchanges, and bankers’ IPO “tax” for midsize companies, often citing data he and his staff analyzed.
The two commissioners, however, generally are united on enforcement actions against alleged cryptocurrency scammers, Ponzi schemers, and other purported securities law violators, according to public SEC voting records.
Jackson’s announcement came after Reuters reported Aug. 2 that Georgetown University Law Center professor Urska Velikonja and Jackson counsel Caroline Crenshaw are among those in the running for his seat.
Spokesmen for the White House and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is handling the recommendation for the Democrats, declined to comment on possible candidates. Jackson, Crenshaw, and Velikonja also declined to comment on the matter.
Crenshaw has served as a lawyer in Jackson’s office since 2018, focusing on topics that have included stock buybacks and dual-class shares. She also worked for former Democratic Commissioner Kara Stein after joining the SEC in 2013. Crenshaw has served in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps reserves since 2016, as well. Her father, Albert, was a longtime personal finance columnist at The Washington Post.
She received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Velikonja has been a professor at Georgetown since 2017, writing on securities enforcement and regulation. She also has taught at Emory University and the University of Maryland. Outside of academia, Velikonja clerked for Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and was a banking and finance lawyer in Slovenia, where she was born.
She got a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ljubljana School of Law and master of laws and juris doctor degrees from Harvard Law School.
Velikonja and Clayton would be the only SEC members who never served on the staff of a former commissioner, if she’s appointed. SEC members Hester Peirce, Elad Roisman, and Lee all worked for commissioners in their careers, though Jackson didn’t.
Jackson’s successor will have a “lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to learn,” said Tyler Gellasch, the executive director of investor advocacy group Healthy Markets Association and a former Stein counsel.
“Learning the issues, the people, and the tools available to a commissioner isn’t easy and often takes years,” he said.