When people say there is a revolving door between the Securities Exchange Commission and Wall Street, they don't usually intend it as a compliment.
Dan Gallagher, one of two conservative SEC commissioners, said Thursday a revolving door does in fact exist—and it benefits the government.
"People should be thrilled about a revolving door where people with expertise come in and out of the government," Gallagher said. "It's good for the private sector. It's good for the government."
Gallagher, who will soon step down from his government post, made his comments after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sent a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White on Tuesday, saying her two-year tenure as head of the financial regulatory agency has been "extremely disappointing."
The letter questioned the number of times White had to recuse herself from rulings due to conflicts of interest related to her former work and her husband's current employment at a corporate law firm. Earlier this year, The New York Times estimated there were four dozen instances in which White had to step aside.
Warren also accused White of misinforming her, saying the chair failed to stick to a timetable in implementing a rule that forces executives to disclose their income relative to their employees. The SEC said it was a misunderstanding.
Gallagher said the notion that White's integrity is in question is disturbing.
"One thing no one should dispute is that Mary Jo White has the utmost integrity," he said. "The agency, the government, the country should be happy to get people like Mary Jo White to come to the SEC."
Asked whether White's recusals had led to stalemate at the SEC, Gallagher said that notion was "absolute nonsense."
Without the independent White, the commission is divided between two conservative and two liberal commissioners.