The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has named LeeAnn Ghazil Gaunt chief of the Enforcement Division's Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit.
A 13-year agency veteran, Gaunt supervised the SEC first pay-to-play enforcement action for "in-kind" political campaign contributions, charging Goldman Sachs and an executive vice president with violations related to contributions to the then-state treasurer of Massachusetts.
She replaces Elaine Greenberg, who left earlier this year to join the Washington office Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe as a partner.
Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement , praised Gaunt’s “tremendous judgment and leadership,” in a news release. “We are delighted that she has agreed to lead the Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit, which has amassed a strong record of enforcement actions and is an important focus for the division,” he said.
The specialty unit was created in January 2010 as part of then-Enforcement Division head Robert Khuzami’s reorganization of the agency. The unit focuses on misconduct in the large municipal securities market and in connection with public pension funds.
Gaunt, who has worked in the SEC’s Boston Regional Office, oversaw other cases including a pay-to-play probe involving municipal securities dealer Southwest Securities, which agreed to pay more than $450,000 to settle SEC charges. She also helped lead an accounting fraud case against General Electric for improper hedge accounting for derivative instruments.
Prior to joining the SEC, she was a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and later at Goodwin Procter.