| NEW YORK/WASHINGTON
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON Former U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang is being considered to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission in the Trump administration, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.
Yang is a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles where she represents corporate defendants in white-collar crime investigations and compliance matters.
Previously, Yang served as the first female Asian-American U.S. attorney. She was appointed to the Central District of California by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002 and left in 2006 to join Gibson Dunn.
Yang is a longtime friend of Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and donated to his presidential campaign.
If tapped, she would become the second consecutive former federal prosecutor to lead the SEC.
Its current chair, Mary Jo White, previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Yang did not respond to a call or an email requesting comment, and it is not clear if she is the leading contender for the top SEC job.
Other names that have been floating around include former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins, who is helping oversee the transition for financial regulation, and Ralph Ferrara, a former SEC general counsel who is also on the transition team.
Unlike Atkins or Ferrara, Yang is not considered to be as deeply steeped in securities regulatory policy matters.
Yang has represented a variety of corporate clients and also previously served as a Justice Department-appointed monitor for a medical device company.
Currently, she is representing Allergan Plc in a lawsuit filed last month against a company called Amazon Medica for trademark infringement, false advertising and unfair competition related to its selling Botox with foreign labels to U.S. doctors.
She has also represented Uber Technologies Inc in a class action lawsuit to force the company to pay its drivers overtime and minimum wage.
Yang was among the Gibson Dunn attorneys who were hired to conduct an outside investigation into the “Bridgegate” scandal.
Their March 2014 report exonerated Christie, finding that he had no involvement in the decision to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey and New York City.
Two of Christie’s former close associates, Bridget Kelly, his deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were convicted for their roles in the scandal last month.
During their trial, former Port Authority official David Wildstein, who previously pleaded guilty for his involvement, testified that he and Baroni had in fact discussed the lane closures with Christie.
Christie has not been charged with wrongoing.
Defense attorneys in the case and local media in New Jersey have raised questions about the independence of Gibson Dunn’s investigation, citing Yang’s personal friendship with Christie and efforts to raise money for his campaign.
(Reporting by Steve Holland in New York and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)