WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's pick to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, passed a key hurdle toward his confirmation after a government ethics watchdog gave him a clearance, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics had examined Clayton's financial disclosure forms for possible conflict of interest.
After a clearance is issued, the paperwork is then typically reviewed by the White House and sent to the Senate. That sets the wheels in motion for the Senate Banking Committee to schedule a hearing.
Clayton, a Wall Street lawyer whose specialties include mergers and acquisitions, must be confirmed by the full Senate.
Many Republicans in recent years have criticized the SEC for focusing too much on enforcement, especially under former Chair Mary Jo White, and not enough on its other missions, including writing rules that promote capital formation.
Clayton has laid out a capital formation agenda to Trump surrogates who interviewed him, a source familiar with the process said. He has also expressed interest in tackling some regulations involving accounting and compliance procedures that financial industry players say get in the way of deals and initial public offerings.
The normally five-member SEC panel is currently down to just two commissioners, acting Chair Michael Piwowar, a Republican, and Kara Stein, a Democrat. If the two cannot agree on whether to advance a rule, then the measure fails.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler)