By Douwe Miedema and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON May 22 The U.S. Senate aims to vote
to confirm three candidates to the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission in early June, a senior Democratic aide said on
Thursday, to fill a leadership gap at the futures and swaps
The agency played a crucial role in reforming financial
markets after the 2007-2009 credit crisis, bringing largely
unregulated swaps trading by Wall Street giants such as Bank of
America and JPMorgan under its control.
But the normally five-strong commission is down to two
members, one Democrat and one Republican, impeding its ability
to make major decisions.
One of President Barack Obama's three nominees for the CFTC
is the agency's prospective chairman, Timothy Massad, a lawyer
who oversaw the U.S. government's $700 billion bank bailout
program at the Department of the Treasury.
Chris Giancarlo, a senior official at derivatives broker GFI
in New York, and Sharon Bowen, a New York lawyer who
also heads the Securities Investor Protection Corporation
(SIPC), are the others.
A Senate panel overseeing the CFTC in April approved the
trio. Bowen was the only to draw a single "no" vote, from a
senator supporting the Securities and Exchange Commission in a
legal fight against SIPC.
Chaired by Bowen, SIPC has denied a request from victims of
the $7 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Allen Stanford, who
is serving a 110-year prison sentence, and the SEC to launch a
legal procedure to get a pay-out.
Under a new rule, it only takes a simple majority of the
100-member Senate to end procedural delays holding up
nominations. Previously, at least 60 votes were needed. As a
result, Democrats can now push through more of Obama's nominees
for government agencies.
(Reporting by Douwe Miedema and Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric
Beech and Paul Simao)