FERC and CFTC turf war

A federal appeals court in Washington this week skirted resolving a jurisdictional dispute between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

FERC and the CFC both brought enforcement actions against  Brian Hunter, a former co-head of the trading desk for commodity derivatives at Amaranth Advisors, in 2007 for alleged manipulation of trade in natural gas futures contracts.

Hunter has argued that only the CFTC has power to prosecute him, as FERC regulates only wholesale energy markets.

The D.C. Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Hunter’s request to block FERC’s order to show cause, which FERC issued based on a preliminary finding that Hunter had manipulated natural gas markets through trading on the NYME.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled without touching the issue of agency authority to prosecute. The court said in a three-page per curiam judgment that it has jurisdiction to hear an appeal of a final order of FERC, and that in this case there is no final order.

The CFTC has a case pending against Hunter in federal district court in New York.

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