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President to nominate Treasury's Timothy Massad to head CFTC


From the November 13, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published November 13, 2013

By Jeannine Anderson
Editor

Timothy Massad, a senior Treasury Department official, is President Obama's choice to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the president said yesterday. Obama made the announcement at a press conference at the White House. If confirmed by the Senate, Massad would replace Gary Gensler, who has been chairman of the CFTC for the last four and a half years.

While at the Treasury Department, Massad has worked for the last three years to wind down the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the government program that began under President Bush in 2008 to stabilize the banking industry.

"Among Mr. Massad's biggest challenges would be completing and implementing the derivatives overhaul ushered in as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law and ensuring the agency has enough resources to enforce the rules it is writing," reported The Wall Street Journal.

"Five years ago today, we were in some of the darkest days of one of the worst financial crises" in U.S. history, President Obama said yesterday. Congress responded by passing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, "making sure the big banks can't make risky bets with their customers' money," and placing the derivatives market under tighter scrutiny, the president said. 

Today, the economy is growing and the financial markets are more stable, thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act, with much of the credit going to the CFTC, President Obama said.

The CFTC has has imposed nearly $1.8 million in penalties on those who took part in rate-fixing schemes and has gone after those who have illegally rigged energy markets, "while a swarm of lobbyists have tried to prevent everything they have tried to do," he said. He called on Congress "to give Tim and the CFTC the resources it needs."

The White House said Massad has "extensive knowledge" of the derivatives market, having worked at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore for two decades. 

Massad is a man who "doesn't seek the spotlight, but he consistently delivers," Obama said. 

The nominee "will likely face twin pressures as his nomination moves through the Senate," reported Politico. "Liberal lawmakers will press him to commit to carrying forward the approach laid out by Gensler and Republicans and some moderate Democrats will look for him to be more accommodating to the concerns of industries such as agriculture and other end-users that use derivatives to hedge risk." 

 

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