N.Y. Governor Hands Top Wall Street Regulatory Job to a Defender of Wall Street

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday handed a critically important bank regulatory position to a longtime donor and corporate lawyer who defended financial institutions in private practice.

Cuomo nominated Maria Vullo to run the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Benjamin Lawsky, Vullo’s predecessor in the office, gained a reputation as the toughest cop on Wall Street, imposing heavy fines for money laundering, accounting fraud, tax evasion, and fraudulent mortgage servicing. Lawsky used the ability to ban financial firms from business in the world financial center in New York to extract real accountability for wrongdoing.

And Lawsky’s aggressiveness shamed other regulators, prompting them to increase their activity.

Vullo, a former deputy to Cuomo in the state attorney general’s office, currently serves as Of Counsel for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a white shoe law firm in New York. She was a partner at Paul, Weiss for 20 years, and in her time there represented Wells Fargo and other “businesses in investigations and civil lawsuits stemming from the financial crisis,” according to the firm’s website.


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