Timothy Massad was nominated as the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC,) the body overseeing the alleged cause of the 2008 financial crisis, mainly the derivatives market of Wall Street.
Massad hails from the Treasury Department as an assistant secretary, which Massad joined in 2009. As part of the Congressional Oversight Panel, Massad analyzed the cause and effect of the financial crisis. For the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Massad dealt with the housing and banking sectors as well as the auto industry, to which he has earned praise.
Massad’s previous positions include working for Ralph Nader and the American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Previously, Gary Gensler ran the CFTC and pushed for strict financial regulation, particularly towards his lack of deference towards Wall Street. Many wonder whether Massad will retain a similar demeanor.
Empowered by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC has, with a 674 staff, a $195 million budget, a budget lacking in order to handle its many cases and numerous tasks. The CFTC formerly handled the oversight of the agricultural industry.
Furthermore, Massad has a shortened staff with only two active commissioners. Republican Commissioner Bart Chilton and Democratic Commissioner Jill Sommers both left the five-person body.
Though much is to be speculated on whether the appointment will go through. Another recent commissioner, J. Christopher Giancarlo, Sommers’ replacement, is equally awaiting appointment.
This will leave the new head with much difficulty in implementing new regulations, particularly in light of a two-week furlough that the department will undergo.
United States President Barack Obama, during his assignment of Massad, cites how the lawyer made a near $30 billion return to the American citizens. Regardless of the daunting tasks ahead, this same commitment to transparency and accountability is what the administration and hopes to accomplish as Massad awaits congressional appointment.
– Miles Abadilla
Sources: American Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Politico, The Washington Post, The White House Office of the Press Secretary