Biden White House Eyes Emory’s Kristin Johnson for CFTC Seat

(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration plans to select Kristin Johnson, a law professor who previously worked on Wall Street, for a Democratic seat on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Johnson, who teaches at Emory University School of Law, would fill one of two vacancies at the agency. An announcement by the White House may still be weeks away, according to the person who requested anonymity because the choice has not been made public.

The pick would bolster Democrats’ control of the CFTC, which oversees much of the $582 trillion global derivatives market. The Biden administration has promised a new era of tougher Wall Street oversight and stricter rules, and has also faced pressure to fill key jobs with candidates that reflect the nation’s diversity. Johnson would be the first Black woman appointed by Biden to serve as a top official at a financial regulator. 

The White House and CFTC declined to comment. Johnson didn’t respond to requests for comment.  

Johnson has recently called for stricter oversight of cryptocurrency trading platforms, which the CFTC helps oversee. Earlier in her career, Johnson worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and as assistant general counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co. She taught at Tulane University Law School before joining Emory this year. She graduated from Georgetown University and University of Michigan Law School. 

After a flurry of regulations at the end of the Trump administration, the CFTC hasn’t made any major policy changes in part because the agency had been deadlocked with two Republicans and two Democrats. Biden is planning to name Rostin Behnam, currently a Democratic commissioner, to lead the regulator, Bloomberg News reported last month. 

(Updates with CFTC declining to comment in fourth paragraph.)

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