Dorgan opposes Lukken's CFTC chairman nomination

US Sen. Byron L. Dorgan said he opposes the nomination of Walter L. Lukken, acting CFTC chairman, to become chairman because Lukken has not adequately addressed energy market speculation.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 10 -- US Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) said he opposes the nomination of Walter L. Lukken, acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, to become chairman because Lukken has not adequately addressed energy market speculation.

Speaking to the North Dakota and South Dakota Bankers Association in Bismarck June 9, Dorgan charged that the run-up in crude oil prices to nearly $140/bbl has been caused by speculators who are running circles around the federal agency, which is supposed to stop damaging commodities speculation.

Lukken appeared as a nominee on June 4 before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, along with current CFTC member Bart Chilton and Scott O'Malia, minority clerk on the Senate Appropriations Committee's Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, who have been nominated as CFTC commissioners. The committee has not yet acted on the nominations.

Dorgan, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Agriculture Committee, told the bankers that testimony before both panels in recent months has convinced him that the fundamentals of supply and demand do not justify current oil prices levels. He said he believes prices are 30-40% higher than is justified.

Dorgan urged US President George W. Bush to withdraw Lukken's nomination and select a nominee who will provide more leadership to address speculation. His remarks came one day before the CFTC's Energy Markets Advisory Committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting at the commission's Washington headquarters. The CFTC also is planning to hold its second annual international manipulation conference June 11-12 with senior enforcement officials from other countries' commodity trading regulatory agencies.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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