Saturday, December 11, 2010

Commissioner Bart Chilton Responds to My Call for Him to Resign

Commissioner Bart Chilton has responded by email to my earlier call for him to resign. I reproduce below his email, in its entirety:

Subject: Hey Robert.....

from Chilton, Bart
date Sat, Dec 11, 2010 at 6:17 PM

I’m not in the habit of responding to errors or suggesting factual corrections, but your piece from today struck me as grossly inaccurate and unfair. In my speech, I gave no specific trader name nor position. It is the name of a trader that is privileged under the law. I am very careful to never divulge that information. I didn’t even give a time period (although I was clear that it isn’t currently) in which the position was held. That information, by the way, is publically-available at as part of our Commitment of Traders (COT) report. The information (the 40%) was also discussed in a public hearing on metals position limits in March and has been discussed in many blogs and newsletters from that time period. We, the CFTC, always show the four largest longs and the four largest shorts in our COT, and we don’t list the names. As simple reading of the below paragraph from the speech should clear it up.

Here is the paragraph (the speech is also at

I’m not suggesting a direct correlation between the inflow of speculative money or positions and the price volatility, by any means. Many of us learned, however, that while there may not be such a thing as too much speculative money, that same money might be too concentrated. We saw very large concentrations of trader positions in 2008. That has continued. Since then, we saw one trader hold more than 20 percent of the crude oil market. Even earlier this year, one trader held over 40 percent of the silver market.
I doubt you’ll make the correction or rescinded your suggestion that I resign immediately, and even if you do, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t make some snide comment. Although, when I respond to share correct information, it sometimes gives people in search of another story something else to write about. That is why I generally don’t even respond. I just wanted to point out your error. Deal with it how you want.

Happy Holidays.

Bart Chilton, Commissioner
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Three Lafayette Centre 1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581
Telephone: (202) 418-xxxx
Fax: (202) 418-xxxx
My response:

Dear Commissioner Chilton,

Thank you very much for your informative email.

At times, my attempts to get comments from government officials has resulted in total failure, so I appreciate you going out of the way to correct my earlier post.

I was not aware that the information in question was already available in other public venues, which of course makes all the difference in the world with regard to you mentioning the information in your speech. I hereby rescind my demand that you immediately resign for disclosing non-public information. It was my error in the belief that the information you were discussing was not public information.

However, and I hope you don't take this as a snide remark, I truly believe that most things in society can be handled better by private individuals and private institutions, including the functions of the CFTC. I have a long list of government institutions that I would like to see abolished, the CFTC is on it, but it is far, far down the list, and at this point I have a no reason to single you out for the ejection seat.

But since our paths have crossed, I'll be keeping a closer eye on your public and comments, and when I deem it relevant to my readers, I'll comment, be it positive or negative, on your views.

Again, thank you very much for the corrections.

Happy Holidays,

Bob Wenzel 


  1. Smacked down, weren't you Bob!

    Now go be a good little boy and stand in the corner.

  2. Yes, Bob, leave it all to the "private" sector and you'll get neat-o stuff like OTC derivatives, which practically melted down the whole system being totally unregulated as they are.

    And now that you've been proven mistaken in your call for Chilton to resign, time to do the decent thing. Draft up e-mails to the people who've allowed this mockery of position limits to occur -- the rest of the CFTC and the governors of the CME and Comex -- calling for THEIR resignations. It's only fair.

  3. Thanks for apologizing Bob. I can go back to liking your blog now.

  4. Good for you for admitting you were wrong. But you should also apologize to him. You jumped the gun, assumed the worst rather than the best. He is obviously (to me) a man of integrity and deserves the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

  5. "Mr Chilton said that “earlier this year, one trader held more than 40 per cent of the silver market”. He declined to identify the trader. "

    40%. WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    While Chilton is about the only one up there with a pulse - I'M NOT IMPRESSED OR PLEASED. I'm vested in silver, 40% tells me one thing and one thing only ---- this is manipulation - out the SOB's and lets move on.

    We've all watched this and we all know the world would be a better place with the minimum threshold of regulation. If Morons Greenspan et al didn't muzzle this regulator things would be better.

    Chilton needs to do more.