When President Obama named Loretta Lynch as his nominee to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speculation about Secretary of Labor Tom Perez being tapped for the role was put to rest, while speculation about the impact on the DOL’s agenda was reinvigorated.
Since early October, Perez had been at the top of the rumored short list of potential nominees to head the Justice Department; so prevalent was the talk in DC that Perez himself joked about it. During a Nov. 4 meeting of the ERISA Advisory Council, when a statistic about the average American having as many as 10 jobs in a lifetime was recited to the room, Perez interrupted with, “I’m working on it!” and the room erupted in laughter.
With the pressures of the 2014 midterm elections behind the Obama administration, Perez seems likely to continue, if not ramp up, the DOL’s regulatory trajectory. This means that he will stay “in the trenches” with assistant secretary Phyllis Borzi on the fiduciary proposal now slated for January 2015, as he told the attendees of a DOL-hosted celebration of ERISA’s 40th anniversary in October.
It also means that we can expect the rest of the department’s agenda to chug forward, including things like 408(b)(2) disclosures and as-yet-unspecified action on brokerage windows.
Next year will no doubt be a busy one. We’ll keep you posted.
Ray Harmon, Esq. is government affairs counsel for ASPPA.