Within minutes of President Trump taking the oath of office Friday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo had been designated as acting chairman of the regulatory agency. Giancarlo succeeded Timothy Massad, who earlier this month tendered his resignation to then-President Obama, effective Jan. 20. At the time, CFTC said Massad would remain a commissioner at CFTC “for a few weeks in order to close out his office and handle administrative matters.” Giancarlo, a Republican and frequent critic of CFTC decisions under Massad, was a brokerage firm executive before being appointed to CFTC in 2014. Massad’s resignation will leave only two commissioners at CFTC — Giancarlo and Sharon Bowen, a Democrat confirmed in 2014 — which could create a logjam, since there would not be enough commissioners to constitute a quorum. There can be as many as five CFTC commissioners, with no more than three from any political party serving simultaneously, so — assuming Giancarlo and Bowen stay on board — Trump could nominate as many as two more Republicans and one Democrat to fill the vacant seats.
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