Bill Approved by House on Commodity Futures

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - The House passed legislation Wednesday that would outlaw the types of trading fraud allegedly uncovered in a wave of indictments at the nation's two largest futures exchanges in Chicago.

The Commodity Futures Improvements Act, which passed 420-to-0, also would give extra muscle to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which congressional critics have called too gentle a watchdog of the nation's futures markets.

Numerous House members, including the bill's two sponsors, hailed the bill passed Wednesday as ``the toughest, most sweeping'' legislation in this area since the commission was created 15 years ago.

Rep. Glenn English, D-Okla., said the act would "clear the integrity of futures markets."

The bill would reauthorize and strengthen the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and mandate reforms in the nation's futures industry.

"The legislation approved today enhances the current regulatory system and moves the industry forward to assist it in meeting the challenges of the future," said English.

English, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit and Rural Development, launched an inquiry February into the futures industry after reports surfaced alleging widespread fraud at two futures exchanges. Indictments were brought in August against 46 people on charges of illegal floor trading in Chicago.

"Though the Commodity Futures Improvement Act was drafted before the indictments were announced, it squarely addresses the issues raised by the Justice Department probe," said English. …