New York－The Committee of 100 writes to support Debra Wong Yang, who is under consideration for a Presidential appointment to serve as the Chair of the Securities & Exchange Commission. Ms. Yang, a highly respected lawyer who has previously served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, would be an excellent choice. She has all of the credentials and experience, with a distinguished reputation for her leadership and community service.
The Committee of 100 is the leading organization among Chinese Americans. A non-profit institution founded by world renowned architect I.M. Pei, and internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, among others, it is dedicated to twin missions of ensuring the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of public life and fostering positive relations between the United States and China. U.S. citizens of Chinese descent are invited to join on the basis of their extraordinary achievements, such as John Chen, CEO of Blackberry, and Dr. David Ho, renowned HIV/AIDS scientist (Time Magazine Person of the Year 1996). Many members have served at high levels of the federal government in administrations of both parties, including, for example, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, and California State Treasurer John Chiang. Ms. Yang has been a member in good standing since 2007.
Ms. Yang could not be better qualified. In a career that spans three decades, Ms. Yang has not only been the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, as a Senate-confirmed appointee of President George W. Bush; but also a Superior Court Judge, appointed by Governor Pete Wilson; and a member of the Los Angeles Police Commission, appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The office she headed as a federal prosecutor is the largest outside of Washington, D.C. Since leaving public service, she has been a partner with the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She has held a senior management role there. Her experience as a trial lawyer includes high-profile matters. She has been tough in enforcing laws but also fair in doing so. Ms. Yang has had a number of cases in her past that were either pending before the SEC or involved working in coordination with the SEC.
In particular, it is worth noting that Ms. Yang has been sought out for one of the most delicate types of legal work. She has assisted with internal investigations and corporate compliance. She has advised and counseled corporate boards. These tasks require balancing both an understanding of the needs and the interests of those who retain her with a grasp of the mandate of complex regulations. She has performed this type of engagement repeatedly. The field calls for among the most astute, insightful lawyers, and very few are able to succeed in the specialization.
Ms. Yang also represents the best of Asian Americans. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in America today; Chinese Americans constitute the single most sizeable ethnicity among them. Born in Los Angeles to Cantonese parents, Ms. Yang is a fourth generation Californian and has been active with the Asian American Bar Association at a local and national level. She also has helped lead the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, which presents the long history of the population, dating back to a time when Los Angeles was a frontier town. Ms. Yang is well-known among Chinese Americans throughout California, and she is highly regarded nationally among all Asian American attorneys.
Ms. Yang has also built bridges. She has appeared on virtually every list of top lawyers that is compiled, without regard to race or gender. She has received major awards for civic engagement from organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League.
In all of her work, Ms. Yang has been a zealous advocate for her clients. She has shown the utmost respect for the rule of law. Although she has worked on issues that have attracted considerable attention, she has always been applauded for her skill and her integrity.
The Committee of 100, like all Chinese Americans — indeed, all Asian Americans — is proud of what Ms. Yang has achieved and what she could contribute. She embodies the American Dream.