Kara Stein

In May 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Kara Marlene Stein to serve as a Democratic member of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to succeed Elisse Walter.[1] Stein was confirmed by the Senate and started at the SEC in August 2013. Her five-year term expires June 5, 2017.

Education and career

Stein graduated from Yale University in 1986 and Yale Law School in 1991.[2] Following her education, Stein was an associate at the law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (WilmerHale).[3]

Before being appointed to the SEC, Stein was an aide to Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and helped write the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

Activities at the SEC

Though soft-spoken in public, Stein has taken aggressive stances behind the scenes in pushing for strict investor-protection rules at SEC.[4]

Stein sparked a debate at the SEC and in Congress over the routine issuance of waivers to companies that had previously been sanctioned by prosecutors for financial misconduct.

In April 2014, Stein published a lengthy dissent to an SEC corporate waiver granted to The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which had previously been charged by the Justice Department with criminal violations.[5] Stein argued that the SEC waiver for RBS risked establishing a policy "that some firms are just too big to bar."

The dissent won applause from Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren.[6][7] Again in an April 2015 speech, Warren criticized the SEC's policy of granting "Well-Known Seasoned Issuer" waivers, saying the agency misses an opportunity to deter bad behavior when it rubber-stamps these waivers.[8]

But Republicans at the SEC have bristled at the use of waivers as another enforcement tool.[9] Stein has subsequently dissented to SEC waivers granted to BNP Paribas, Citigroup, and Oppenheimer & Co.[10]


  1. Protess, Ben (May 24, 2013). "S.E.C. Changes Continue as Obama Names 2 Senate Aides for Posts". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  2. Bass, Carole. "Kara Stein '86, '91JD: bank shot". www.yalealumnimagazine.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  3. "SEC biography: Commissioner Kara M. Stein". www.sec.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  4. Michaels, Dave (July 21, 2014). "Ghosts of 2008 Haunt SEC's 'Outsider' Pushing Tough Rules". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  5. "Dissenting Statement in the Matter of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, plc, Regarding Order Under Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933, Granting a Waiver From Being an Ineligible Issuer". www.sec.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  6. "Sen. Brown Urges SEC Chair to Stop Granting Waivers From Securities Law to Banks With Civil or Criminal Settlements or Enforcement Actions". www.brown.senate.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  7. Temple-West, Patrick (18 May 2015). "Elizabeth Warren's ally on the inside". POLITICO. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  8. Warren, Elizabeth. "The Unfinished Business of Financial Reform" (PDF). Warren.senate.gov. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  9. Gallagher, Daniel. "Statement on WKSI waivers". www.sec.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  10. Stein, Kara. "Dissenting Statement In the Matter of Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.". www.sec.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2015.

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