WASHINGTON -- Consuela Washington, a longtime securities aide to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is being increasingly mentioned as the top contender to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Although President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team has just started searching for a replacement for SEC Chairman Richard Breeden, a Republican whose five-year term ends this spring, SEC watchers say Washington appears to be the leading candidate.

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