Chris Brummer Said to Be Biden's CFTC Chair, Crypto-Friendly Tarbert Steps Down

Brummer would bring an extensive understanding of the cryptocurrency space to the commodities regulator.

Jan 21, 2021 at 8:25 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:48 p.m. UTC

Chris Brummer, a Georgetown University law professor who runs the annual D.C. Fintech Week conference, may be the next chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), according to Reuters.

The news service reported Thursday that Brummer is President Joe Biden’s leading candidate to head the federal commodities regulator.

Brummer was previously nominated to the CFTC as a commissioner in 2016 by former President Barack Obama, but his nomination expired before the Senate scheduled a confirmation hearing. Former President Donald Trump did not renominate him to the federal commodities regulator after he took office in 2017. Biden also named Brummer to his transition team after winning the 2020 presidential election last year.

Now-former Chairman Heath Tarbert, who took office in 2019, announced his resignation from the role Thursday, after announcing last year he would resign early in 2021. However, Tarbert will remain a commissioner on the CFTC, a CFTC press release said. His term expires in 2024. 

Commissioner Rostin Behnam will serve as the acting chair in the interim.

If he is nominated and confirmed, Brummer would join former CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, who is Biden’s nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and former U.S. Treasury official Michael Barr, Biden’s rumored nominee for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as one of the key regulators for the  cryptocurrency industry.

Like Gensler and Barr, Brummer will also bring an extensive understanding of the cryptocurrency space. In recent years he has testified about cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies before the CFTC, in addition to running the Fintech Week conference.

Brummer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the securities regulatory side, Commissioner Allison Herren Lee has been named Acting Chair of the SEC. She first took office in 2019, and is likely to serve in the acting chair role until Gensler is confirmed by the Senate. 

UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2021, 00:25 UTC): After the publication of this article, the CFTC announced that Commissioner Rostin Behnam would serve as the acting chair. This article has also been updated with additional context.

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