A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Christopher Cox served as the 28th chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission from June 2, 2005 until Goerg W. Bush left office. Cox received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California in 1973, graduating magna cum laude after pursuing an accelerated three-year course. In 1977 Cox simultaneously received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a JD from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. In 1977-78, he was law clerk to US Court of Appeals Judge Herbert Choy.
From 1978 to 1986, Cox specialized in venture capital and corporate finance with the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he was the partner in charge of the Corporate Department in Orange County, CA and a member of the firm’s national management.
From 1982-83, Cox took a leave of absence from Latham & Watkins to teach federal income tax at Harvard Business School. He also co-founded Context Corporation, the publisher of the English translation of the Soviet Union’s daily newspaper, Pravda. From 1986 until 1988, Cox served in the White House as senior associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan. In that capacity, he advised the President on a wide range of matters, including the nomination of three US Supreme Court Justices, reform of the federal budget process and the 1987 stock market crash.
Cox served as a Republican member of the House of Representatives from January 25, 1989 to August 2, 2005, representing a district in Orange County, CA. In 1994, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform.
Cox also served as co-chairman of the Bipartisan Study Group on Enhancing Multilateral Export Controls. For 10 of his 16 years in Congress, Cox served in the majority leadership of the House. He was chairman of the House Policy Committee; chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security; chairman of the Select Committee on US National Security; chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security (the predecessor to the permanent House Committee); chairman of the Task Force on Capital Markets; and chairman of the Task Force on Budget Process Reform.
In addition, Cox served in a leadership capacity as a senior member of every committee with jurisdiction over investor protection and US capital markets, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee (as vice chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee); the Financial Services Committee; the Government Reform Committee (as vice chairman of the full committee); the Joint Economic Committee; and the Budget Committee.
In 1998, Cox headed the so-called Cox Committee, a House Select Committee that investigated the alleged Chinese acquisition of sensitive US technology. The “Cox Report,” released in 1999, added to the furor at the time of purported Chinese espionage in the US nuclear weapons complex (the Wen Ho Lee scandal). The report alleged extensive Chinese spying in the United States and claimed that the country had obtained US nuclear bomb designs.
Early in the first term of President George W. Bush, Cox was appointed a federal appeals court judge, but withdrew after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced her opposition.