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POLITICS: PennAve

Derivatives regulator CFTC's 'revolving door' move to industry group criticized

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SEC,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,CFTC,Derivatives

An outgoing commissioner of the regulatory agency that oversees derivatives contracts will become the CEO of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, a trade group for firms that engage in derivatives transactions, according to a statement from the ISDA Wednesday.

The commissioner, Scott O'Malia, had announced his departure from the Commodity Futures Trade Commission two days earlier. O'Malia, who had previously worked as a Senate staffer for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, was a Republican nominee to the five-member CFTC.

O'Malia's move to a trade group involved in CFTC matters drew immediate criticism from financial reform advocates. The group Better Markets wrote in a statement that "O'Malia's spin through the revolving door is a record setter for influence peddling."

The statement also noted that the ISDA, described as one of the "derivatives industry’s leading battering rams against the CFTC," has been involved in recent lawsuits against the CFTC over position limits on commodities speculation and regulation of overseas derivatives agreements.

The CFTC, which originated as an agency to oversee agricultural futures contracts, was given expanded authority by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law to oversee the trillions of dollars in swaps between large financial institutions.

O'Malia, who joined the CFTC in 2009, will stay in his current role until Aug. 8, and then join the ISDA on Aug. 18.

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