The US Senate unanimously confirmed the appointments of three nominees to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on October 8.
Commissioners Bart Chilton and Jill Sommers were reappointed for another term, while Scott O’Malia has been chosen to replace former acting CFTC chairman Walt Lukken.
O’Malia was nominated in September to fill the vacant Republican post at the CFTC, after Lukken’s resignation in June. He is now at NYSE Euronext.
All three commissioners told a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing that they supported the plan by President Barack Obama for more central counterparty clearing of over-the-counter derivatives.
The CFTC has five commissioners, of which no more than three may be from the same political party. O’Malia is the second Republican commissioner alongside Sommers.
Chilton will serve until April 13 2013, and Sommers until a year after that. O’Malia’s term expires on April 13 2015.
The commissioners will work alongside CFTC chairman, Gary Gensler, who was confirmed in the job in May, and commissioner Michael Dunn, who has worked at the US regulator since June 2006. Dunn’s term expires in June 2011.
Sommers joined the CFTC in April 2004 and Chilton in March 2003.
O’Malia will leave his post as minority clerk for the Senate Appropriations Committee’s energy and water subcommittee to join the CFTC. He previously worked for former Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman Pete Domenici as a senior policy adviser on oil, coal and gas issues. From 1992 until 2001 he was a senior legislative assistant to Senator Mitch McConnell.
The admission of O’Malia to the CFTC is a case of ‘second time lucky’. He was nominated by President George W Bush but his appointment, alongside those of two fellow nominees including then-acting CFTC chairman Lukken was blocked by Senator Maria Cantwell, who blamed the CFTC for failing to crack down on excessive energy speculation.
“Continued inaction by the CFTC to bring the light of day to unregulated markets is unacceptable,” Cantwell said in September 2008. “By not properly policing the oil markets, the CFTC is turning a blind eye to artificial volatility. They may be the only group in America that believes all is well in the oil markets.”
CME Group welcomed the three commissioners’ appointment.