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CFTC commissioner to resign, leaving agency with 1 member

Lone Democrat on panel cited frustration over the lack of appointments

Sharon Bowen
Sharon Bowen

Sharon Bowen, the lone Democratic commissioner on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, on Tuesday said she would step down from the post in the next few months because of frustration over the lack of appointments to the five-person board.

"Why am I doing this? The answer is simple: because, since the departure of former chairman (Timothy) Massad, the work of this agency has been hampered by only having a two-person commission when we should be a five-person commission," Ms. Bowen said at a meeting of the CFTC's Market Risk Advisory Committee, which she sponsors.

Since the commission is short three members, it cannot form a quorum to take action.

"Having just two commissioners makes routine business difficult, but makes important policy decisions almost impossible," Ms. Bowen said, according to a text of her speech on the CFTC website. "Without a full complement of commissioners to consider the far-reaching implications of our decisions, we are frozen in place while the markets we regulate are moving faster every day. This fact is intolerable to me."

Ms. Bowen said she would step down earlier if the Senate confirms a nominee.

Her departure would leave Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo as the only commissioner.

The panel has not had a full contingent since August 2014. Dawn Stump, former vice president of NYSE Euronext, and Brian Quintenz, founder of Saeculum Capital Management, have been nominated by the Trump administration in the past two months as the Republican representatives to fill two of the three vacancies, but neither have been confirmed by the Senate. Mr. Giancarlo's confirmation hearing with the Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled for Thursday. No Democrats have been nominated. The commission is required to have three members from the ruling party and two from the minority party.

Ms. Bowen was nominated to a five-year term as commissioner by President Barack Obama and approved by the Senate in 2014.