Allison Herren Lee, Securities and Exchange Commissioner, announced her intention to resign at the end her term in June.
Lee announced Tuesday that she would continue in her current role until her successor is confirmed. After being sworn in as the SEC commissioner in 2019, she has served less than three years in her current role. Her five-year term expired in June 2019.
Lee, a Democrat, who succeeded Kara Stein as commissioner, will leave the SEC. Another vacancy was left open by Elad Roisman (Republican) who announced his departure in January. Hester Peirce is the only Republican currently on the five-member Commission. She is known as “Crypto Mom” to many. The law prohibits more than three members from the same party being on the commission.
Lee was a member of the SEC for more than a decade prior to her appointment. She served as her predecessor’s counsel, and then as the senior counsel for the complex financial instrument unit. Before becoming a commissioner, she was also a senior counsel. From January 2021 to April 2021 she was acting chair of the SEC, following which Gary Gensler became the head of the regulatory body.
The compositional changes to the SEC could have an impact on the cryptocurrency market. Gensler’s commission has been very active in its enforcement of the industry. Lee debated Peirce at Georgetown University last year, where she advocated for the preservation of existing standards in cryptocurrency.
“I believe we must evolve with the changing technologies but I don’t think it means we have to change our principles or stray away from our mission which, I believe, has worked well for decades.”
Lee stated earlier in the month, in an address to Practicing Law Institute, that “we have witnessed an entirely new multi-trillion-dollar industry develop around crypto and digital assets which largely defies existing regulations.”
Lee, who came from the energy sector to join the SEC, was known for her climate advocacy. According to the New York Times Lee will accept a visiting professorship at the University of Rome after leaving the SEC.