President Biden names nominees to fill CFTC vacancies.

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All CFTC nominations must be confirmed by a simple majority vote in the United States Senate.

President Joe Biden has appointed Rostin Behnam, the interim chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to the role of permanent chairperson, as well as two others to fill vacant commissioner seats.

In a Monday announcement from the White House, President Biden said he planned to nominate Behnam — who has been serving as lead at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission since former chair Heath Tarbert left in January — in addition to Kristin Johnson and Christy Goldsmith Romero. All must be confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

According to her faculty profile at the Emory University School of Law, Johnson has been examining the implications of “emerging innovative technologies including distributed digital ledger technologies that enable the creation of digital assets and intermediaries.” She has previously hinted at establishing greater governmental oversight of crypto platforms.

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Romero has been serving as special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, an initiative established to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse” following the 2008 financial crisis. She also served as senior counsel in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division.

It is unclear how the additions of Johnson and Romero will impact CFTC policy on digital assets. According to Dawn Stump, the government organisation “does not regulate commodities, and hence it does not regulate crypto assets even if they are commodities.”

The CFTC generally has five commissioners, but there have been two vacancies since the departures of Brian Quintenz on August 31 and former chair Tarbert in January. All nominations must be made by the President of the United States and confirmed by a simple majority vote in the Senate. Democrats presently have 50 of the Senate’s 100 seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker.

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