Tight Funding Is Starving Financial Regulatory Agency, Outgoing Official Says

Though no stranger to budget battles, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission may have reached a saturation point at which its mission and agenda are being compromised.

According to an interview published in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, the agency is so “cash-starved” it is “being forced to delay cases, shelve certain probes and decided not to file charges against two former traders over J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s ‘London Whale’ trading case.”

Speaking after his final day on the job, CFTC enforcement director David Meister said the independent regulator is “absolutely undersized…. We will do everything we can, …but we have limited staff and limited resources. Ultimately it comes down to the math.”

The volume of enforcement actions CFTC filed in fiscal 2013 is down by one-fifth, Meister said. His enforcement division staff of 155 is down 10 percent from when he started in January 2011.

Republicans, since taking control of the House in 2011 following passage of the controversial Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, have sought to cut the CFTC’s budget and accused it of playing politics.

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