Tuesday, June 19, 2012

House Appropriations Committee Cuts CFTC FY 2013 Funding; Concerned about Cost-Benefit Analysis of Regulations

The House Appropriations Committee has approved legislation providing funding of $180,405,000 for the CFTC for FY 2013, of which $32,000,000 is for the purchase of information technology. While this represents a cut in CFTC funding, full Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) explained that the CFTC has experienced more than an 80 percent growth in its budget since 2008 while its workload has increased by only a fraction of a percent. Similarly, Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA) noted that under the Dodd-Frank Act there will be only a .02 percent increase in the number of transactions the CFTC will oversee, and the number of entities under CFTC jurisdiction will increase by a mere .03 percent.

Chairman Kingston also pointed out that, instead of more bodies, the CFTC is in desperate need of advanced surveillance monitoring technology capable of keeping pace with a market that trades 80 percent electronically. While the Subcommittee has specifically directed $92 millon over the past two years for the CFTC's highest priority information technology activities, said Chairman Kingston, the CFTC continues misapplying these funds for non-essential purposes.

In the Report accompanying the legislation, the Committee expressed concern about the CFTC's lack of a strong cost-benefit analysis of the regulations it proposes. In its 38-year history not a single lawsuit had been brought against the CFTC stemmong from its cost-benefit analyses, noted the report, but now two major lawsuits have recently been filed based on the application of Section 15(a) of the Commodity Exchange Act. The Committee is concerned that these lawsuits are reallocating scarce resources away from the core functions of the CFTC.