WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to nominate former Senate aide Hester Peirce to an open seat on the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Peirce, a Republican, is a former Senate Banking Committee staff member and currently is the director of the Financial Markets Working Group at George Mason University's Mercatus Center. She was nominated to the SEC last year by President Barack Obama, but the full Senate never acted on her nomination.
Reuters could not immediately confirm the report. The SEC declined to comment, while Peirce and the White House were not immediately available to comment.
Rumors began flying soon after Trump's election win in November that he would put Peirce's name forward again for one of the two SEC commissioner posts that have sat vacant for more than a year.
If Trump follows tradition, he will suggest a Democrat for the other open slot at the top U.S. securities regulator. Obama had Lisa Fairfax, a George Washington University law professor, as the Democrat last year, but Trump is not expected to tap her.
Peirce is no stranger to the SEC. She currently sits on its investor advisory committee and was previously an SEC staff attorney and counsel to former Commissioner Paul Atkins.
Peirce could be instrumental in carrying out Trump's work on reforming the regulations coming out of the 2007-09 financial crisis and recession. When she worked on the Senate Banking Committee, Peirce focused on how regulators implemented the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and helped provide oversight of the SEC. Recently, she edited and contributed to a book published by the right-leaning Mercatus Center that called for totally restructuring the country's financial regulation.
Last year Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee attempted to block both Peirce and Fairfax's nominations when neither nominee fully committed to work as commissioners on requiring corporations to publicly disclose their political donations. After finally winning the committee blessing, the two nominations stalled in the Senate as Republicans dragged their feet on approving names put forward by Obama, a Democrat.
Peirce could face a rocky time again in the chamber. Liberal firebrand Senator Elizabeth Warren is highly critical of Peirce, who is a member of the Federalist Society, an organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers.
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler)