Bart Chilton, a U.S. regulator who pushed for tighter regulation of swaps and derivatives, said he will step down from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
A member of the CFTC since 2007, Chilton, 53, attracted attention for using pop music lyrics and other colloquialisms to explain the impact of derivatives and commodity trading on consumers.
Chilton’s announcement during an agency meeting yesterday comes less than two months before CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, an ally and fellow Democrat, is to leave the agency. With one seat on the five-member commission already vacant, departures by Chilton and Gensler would leave the panel with just two members, Republican Scott O’Malia and Democrat Mark Wetjen.
“I wrote to the President early this morning and said I’ll be leaving in the not-too-distant future,” said Chilton, whose term as a CFTC commissioner expired in April, although he could continue to serve until December 2014 or a successor is confirmed.
Chilton said he waited to announce his resignation until the agency voted to propose a rule curbing the size of positions in speculative commodity trading, which Chilton has blamed for driving up consumer prices for gasoline. He didn’t state what he’d do after leaving the commission.
Sticking with his custom of peppering speeches with pop culture references, Chilton referred to Etta James’ song, “At Last,” then tacked on a reference to The Eagles.
“Here we are finally, at last, today, and we are going to take it to the limit one more time,” he said.
A leading candidate under consideration to fill Chilton’s spot is securities lawyer Sharon Y. Bowen, according to four people in the financial industry who said they were briefed by administration officials. Bowen, a partner with Latham & Watkins LLP in New York, is acting chairman of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which works to restore funds to investors who lost money in bankrupt or financially troubled brokerage firms.
Bowen didn’t respond to telephone calls seeking comment. The White House press office didn’t respond to requests for comment sent after normal business hours.