Vitter still waiting on answers from CFTC nominee

Greg Nash

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is accusing a nominee to join the Commodity Futures Trading Commission of refusing to answer his questions.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Vitter demanded to know why Sharon Bowen has failed to answer questions he asked her back in March. At the time, Bowen’s staff said she would respond “as soon as practicable.”

“Is two months not practicable?” Vitter asked in his latest letter.

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President Obama nominated Bowen in December to serve as a commission at the CFTC, which oversees the financial derivatives marketplace. But Vitter has placed a hold on her nominations, demanding answers about her handling of victims from the multibillion dollar Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme.

Bowen, a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, is also the acting chair of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. The federally-mandated private nonprofit helps investors recover and distribute funds lost when a broker-dealer fails.

However, SIPC and the Securities and Exchange Commisison have disagreed over how to handle Stanford victims, many of whom are Louisianans. Currently, victims of the fraud have not been compensated by SIPC, since the money was placed in a foreign investment that was not a SIPC member.

Vitter has called on SIPC to reconsider that decision, and is vowing to drag out Bowen’s nomination until he gets answers. In March, he sent her several questions about the process behind the SIPC decision and her involvement with it.

Bowen is currently pending before the full Senate, along with fellow CFTC nominees Christopher Giancarlo and Timothy Massad, a former Treasury Department official Obama nominated to lead the agency.

The three have all been approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee, although Bowen was the only to receive a vote in opposition.