The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Henry Burke,

The Revolving Door Project, A Government Ethics Watchdog, Alerts Media Of Possibility That CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam Is Considering Leaving Government To Cash Out In Private Industry

President Biden’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Has Used A Light-Touch Approach To Regulation Throughout His Tenure, Making A Lot Of Friends On Wall Street And In The World Of Cryptocurrency. He May Be The Biden Administration’s Highest-Profile Regulator To Revolve Thus Far.

In response to rumors that CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam is considering ending his tenure at the agency prematurely for a post in private industry, Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser released the following statement:

“Regulators taking positions with the industries that they were recently charged with reigning in is corrosive to good governance and public trust in government. This issue is magnified with the Commodities Future Trading Commission—an agency tasked with regulating the derivatives industry that crashed the global economy in 2007 and one that Behnam has thrust forward as a potential chief regulator of the fraudulent world of cryptocurrency.”

“Despite what many in Washington seem to believe, the revolving door between private industry and government not only has the image of impropriety, it is a genuine hindrance to effective policymaking. Government officials who know they will seek post-government employment with the industries they have regulated are incentivized to maintain a friendly if not openly deferential relationship.”

“Behnam’s choices at the CFTC could easily be seen through this prism. His recent decision to vote with Republican CFTC commissioners to enact a Trump administration-proposed weakening of swaps regulation well into the Biden administration is a great example of this, as is his cozy relationship with cryptocurrency companies including the now-bankrupt FTX and its criminal former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.”

“If Behnam does leave the CFTC years before his term expires to pursue a lucrative job with the industries he recently oversaw, President Biden should seize the opportunity to fill his vacated seat with a public servant dedicated to the furtherance of the public good rather than their own financial situation.”

The Revolving Door Project has submitted a FOIA request seeking records of communications between Behnam and the CFTC Acting Inspector or CFTC Agency Ethics Officials to monitor any official ethics disclosures on his potential future employment and will continue to file updated FOIA requests in the coming months. Any disclosures uncovered by these requests will be shared with the media immediately.

The Revolving Door Project’s Henry Burke and Kenny Stancil wrote a piece for The American Prospect on the potential of Behnam leaving the CFTC and the relative odds of his post-government employment. The piece can be read here.

The Revolving Door Project (RDP) scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.