(Bloomberg) -- Kristin Johnson, a Democratic commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has emerged as a top candidate to lead the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

White House officials have discussed the role with Johnson in recent days, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private conversations. The Biden administration is racing to nominate and confirm a new head of the FDIC. 

Martin Gruenberg said Monday he would step down once a replacement was installed following complaints of a toxic work environment at the regulator spanning decades. A political firestorm erupted after Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton released a scathing report earlier this month detailing the allegations of harassment and discrimination at the FDIC.

Read More: FDIC Probe Finds Credible Allegations of Toxic Workplace

The White House declined to comment on the possible nomination, as did Johnson. Bloomberg has previously reported that Johnson is also under consideration for a top role at the US Treasury Department overseeing banks.

Overseeing Banks

On a day-to-day basis, the FDIC helps oversee the banking system and deals with any failures. It helped drive Washington’s response to last year’s regional banking turmoil.

If nominated and confirmed for the post, Johnson, a former law professor and one-time attorney at JPMorgan Chase & Co., would not just step into a politically charged job but also one key to the Biden administration’s policy agenda. 

The FDIC, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller Currency have proposed forcing Wall Street banks to hold significantly more capital. The plan will likely need support from the leaders of the heads of each agency to be finalized and Wall Street banks are bitterly opposed to it. 

Since March 2022, Johnson has been a commissioner at the CFTC, which oversees derivatives trading. She was unanimously confirmed by the Senate for that role. The new FDIC chair will also need to be approved by the Senate. 

Political Pressure

The political pressure on the Biden administration to quickly fill the post is high because if Gruenberg were to ever leave without a replacement being confirmed, the FDIC would be split evenly 2-2 between Democrats and Republicans. 

In that instance, Travis Hill, the FDIC vice chairman, a Republican who has criticized some of the regulatory proposals championed by Gruenberg, would temporarily lead the regulator. 

It’s unclear how quickly the White House can win Senate approval of a new permanent chair, but delays in confirming presidential nominees are common during election years. 

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