Senate set to approve nomination of CFTC nominee in Sept

Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:31pm EDT

  * Wetjen vote could happen soon after Senate returns
  * Reid spokesman: so far no objections to nomination
  * Little insight on Wetjen's views could help in Senate
  By Christopher Doering
  WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate is expected
to move quickly in September to approve the nomination of Mark
Wetjen as a Democratic commissioner at the U.S. futures
regulator, a move that could prove crucial as the agency
implements a range of sweeping new Wall Street reforms.
  The earliest the full Senate could move to confirm Wetjen
was Sept. 6 when it returns from a nearly month-long recess.
Wetjen was approved last week by the Senate Agriculture
Committee, which oversees the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading
Commission.
  "If we come back and no one has objections it could happen
very quickly, and since we don't know of any holds or
objections at the moment that could be possible," said Adam
Jentleson, a spokesman with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
  A vote on Wetjen's nomination before the full Senate was
initially slated for last week, but it was delayed to give
lawmakers more time to review his record, said Jentleson. The
Senate also will have time to review Wetjen's nomination for a
few days when they return.
  While there are currently no objections to Wetjen or signs
of a challenge being imminent, one could serve to delay his
nomination indefinitely.
  The 37-year-old Wetjen would replace outgoing Commissioner
Michael Dunn, a Democrat known as an independent voice on the
CFTC, which has two Republican commissioners and two Democratic
commissioners, including Chairman Gary Gensler, remaining.
  Wetjen could play a major role in helping the CFTC finish
rules such as position limits that otherwise might lack the
necessary minimum three votes needed for approval. Currently,
he is counsel and senior policy adviser to Reid.
  During his confirmation hearing before the Senate
Agriculture Committee, Wetjen was careful not to tip his hand
on his views on major issues affecting the CFTC and how he
might vote.
  At the hearing, Wetjen told lawmakers that future rules
should avoid placing unnecessary costs on firms that use swaps,
and should minimize so-called unintended consequences that hurt
U.S. competitiveness or market liquidity.
  Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of
Maryland and the CFTC's former director of trading and markets,
said the lack of certainty on where Wetjen stands on the issues
will prove beneficial.
  "If he came with a clear cut agenda one way or the other I
think his chances would be much less but he doesn't appear to
have that kind of agenda," said Greenberger, who said the
support by the Senate Agriculture Committee is a sign Wetjen is
acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.
  "He's very well-known in the Senate, and he says he's open
minded and I think people are prepared to take him at his
word," he said.
 (Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)