McCain’s plan to fire SEC commissioner is unconstitutional.

Today, Sen. John McCain said that if he were president, he would fire SEC Chairman Chris Cox for his “betrayal of trust” leading up to this week’s financial market crisis. Watch it:

ABC notes, however, that a president cannot fire the chair of an independent regulatory commission:

But while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president. From time to time, presidents have attempted to remove commissioners who have proven “uncooperative.” However, the courts have general upheld the independence of commissioners. In 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt fired a member of the Federal Trade Commission and the Supreme Court ruled the president acted unconstitutionally.

In another case of McCain not speaking for the McCain campaign, McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin walked back McCain’s proclamation, stating that the senator “made clear what his standards are for performance.” Holtz-Eakin said McCain would “ask for the resignation” of Cox, rather than fire him.


“White House press secretary Dana Perino said in an e-mail that the president does have confidence in Cox,” the Hill reports.

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