Does Tim Massad Have the Guts to Make Financial Reform a Durable Reality?

Does Tim Massad, a former partner at Cravath Swain & Moore, and current head of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, have the guts to make financial reform a durable and effective reality?

Better Markets CEO Dennis Kelleher wants to know.

The President plans to nominate Massad to chair the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

“Financial reform is meant to protect the American people from another devastating financial crash and more taxpayer funded bailouts,” Kelleher said. The next chairman of the CFTC will be critical in determining if financial reform becomes a durable reality or an empty promise. Outgoing Chairman Gary Gensler has admirably led the agency to pass historic reforms, overcoming daunting, relentless opposition from Wall Street and its many allies.”

“Unfortunately, the CFTC’s hard work is not over. Much remains to be done. Worse, without the right leadership and commitment, much of what the CFTC has already accomplished can be undone,” Kelleher said. “Wall Street continues to use its unlimited resources to protect its profits at the expense of U.S. markets, taxpayers and the economy. The next CFTC Chairman must not only have the experience and skills to run the CFTC, but also an unwavering commitment to financial reform and a healthy skepticism of those pushing their narrow self-interest and talking their book.”

“The importance of the CFTC Chairman to the American people cannot be overstated, but it is too often a thankless, politically unpopular job that requires independence, determination, core values and real courage. This is a critical time for the CFTC. It is severely under-funded, grossly under-staffed, technologically outgunned, a political piñata, and under constant attack from Wall Street. All of this poses a grave risk to the American people, who are still suffering from the economic calamity inflicted on them by Wall Street in 2008. The CFTC cannot fulfill its mission of protecting the American people from another derivatives-driven financial crash unless it has the right leadership with the right values.”

 “Very little is known about CFTC Chairman nominee Mr. Massad,” Kelleher said. “The inevitable spin, politics and PR surrounding his nomination must be disregarded. It is the Senate’s duty in the confirmation process to determine whether Mr. Massad has the qualifications and guts for the job. The protection of our financial markets, taxpayers and the entire economy are at stake. As was unfortunately demonstrated during the last crisis, the CFTC was not up to the job, was a feckless non-regulator in the pocket of Wall Street, and failed the American people miserably. That must not be allowed to happen again and the Senate must ensure that it does not.”

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