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Senate OKs new SEC chief, commissioners

The U.S. Senate Friday approved President Bush's choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, California Republican Rep. Christopher Cox.
/ Source: Reuters

The U.S. Senate Friday approved President Bush's choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, California Republican Rep. Christopher Cox.

On a voice vote, the Senate approved Cox along with two Democratic SEC nominees -- incumbent SEC Commissioner Roel Campos, who is getting a second term, and Annette Nazareth, currently director of the SEC's Division of Market Regulation.

The Senate Banking Committee approved all three nominations earlier this week.

Cox, 52, a self-described free market conservative, takes over the SEC from William Donaldson, who quit as chairman on June 30 after a little more than two years in the job.

Cox has represented California's well-to-do Orange County in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1989, but is expected to resign that congressional seat.

Cox was strongly endorsed by Republicans and some industry groups. Some Democrats, unions and investor activists have opposed his nomination and expressed concern that he might try to roll back post-Enron reforms or ease SEC enforcement.

Cox, formerly a corporate lawyer, was confirmed just days after telling his confirmation hearing that he supported vigorous enforcement of U.S. securities laws and that he would not interfere with a new rule approved under his predecessor, requiring the expensing of stock options.

He said he would also seek consensus on the five-person board, which has seen a series of 3-2 split decisions recently.

The other two SEC members are Republican commissioners Cynthia Glassman and Paul Atkins.