A spokesman for President Bush praised Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman William Donaldson a day after a report that some U.S. business groups are unhappy with...

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A spokesman for President Bush praised Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman William Donaldson a day after a report that some U.S. business groups are unhappy with him and may seek his ouster.

“The president appreciates the job Chairman Donaldson is doing,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors are lobbying the administration to get the SEC to ease enforcement of corporate-governance rules, Wall Street Journal columnist Alan Murray reported Tuesday. The groups may seek to have Donaldson replaced, the column said, without citing anyone by name.

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“I appreciate the president’s remarks about me,” Donaldson said yesterday. He plans to remain chairman at least a year, he said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while critical of Donaldson and the agency on some issues, hasn’t urged Bush to dismiss the SEC chairman, said David Hirschmann, senior vice president of the Washington-based group. “We’re trying to send a message that says, rather than aggressive rule-making, reform the SEC,” Hirschmann said. “We don’t think that anybody is going to ask the chairman to leave.”

Chamber President Tom Donohue said yesterday that he is “absolutely not” part of any effort to oust Donaldson.

The Business Roundtable isn’t seeking Donaldson’s ouster, said Johanna Schneider, spokeswoman for the association of corporate chief executive officers.

Donaldson became chairman in February 2003.