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June 25, 2013

CFTC Commissioner Wetjen’s Call Today to Again Delay Financial Reform Helps Wall Street and Hurts Main Street

“CFTC Commissioner Wetjen, overseas in London before an audience of derivatives dealers and their lobbyists, announced that he is again going to insist on delaying implementation of critically important financial reform regulations.  It has already been five years since the worst financial crash since 1929 and the American people have been suffering the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The American people should not have to wait any longer to be protected from Wall Street’s high risk global derivatives dealers,” said Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO of Better Markets. 

“The claim that more time and input is needed is baseless. The CFTC has been working on cross-border regulation for more than 2 ½ years, has considered more than 322 filed comment letters and has had dozens of meetings, 99% of which have been with the financial industry and its lobbyists.  Indeed, the CFTC worked for 1 ½ years before even proposing its initial guidance in June 2012.  The CFTC then worked for another 6 months before issuing further guidance in December 2012.  The July 12, 2013 deadline was set 7 months ago by the CFTC, allowing ample time to finalize the proposal if people were genuinely interested in finalizing it,” Mr. Kelleher noted.

“As is well known, behind many of the efforts to delay finalizing the CFTC’s cross-border guidance is Wall Street’s current ‘ABCG’ strategy:  ‘anybody but Chairman Gensler.’  As a former partner at Goldman Sachs and derivatives expert, CFTC Chairman Gensler is uniquely qualified to evaluate Wall Street’s endless self-serving claims and attempts to bend the rules in favor of their businesses, profits and bonuses.  No one else has anywhere near the qualifications or experience to do that, or the willingness to stand up to Wall Street and its many  powerful allies and to do what is right for U.S. taxpayers, the financial system, and the economy. 

“As to cross-border rules, Chairman Gensler has seen first-hand how banks can use their vast network of overseas subsidiaries and affiliates to evade and defeat regulation.  That is why Chairman Gensler has been Wall Street’s top target for years and, as his Chairmanship apparently comes to a close, that is why they are insisting on as much delay as possible:  they want to run out the clock on Chairman Gensler, believing that whoever replaces him will be less qualified and more likely to tailor the rules to industry interests,” said Mr. Kelleher.

“Smooth-sounding words and comforting rationalizations will not take away the sting of the next financial collapse and the bill that will be delivered to the U.S. taxpayers.  When that happens, those whose actions paved the way will bear responsibility in the same way as those who supported the deregulatory Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and the 1999 repeal of the Glass Steagall Act, which brought on the most recent crisis” Mr. Kelleher said.

“This is a defining moment for the CFTC and its commissioners.  History will look back at this time and judge whether Wall Street’s or the public’s interests were served by the decisions made in the next few weeks,” Mr. Kelleher concluded.

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