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Regulatory Budget Battles

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Yesterday's congressional spending deal did not contain all the money for which the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission had asked. The SEC will get $29 million more than its fiscal 2013 level, and the CFTC will have approximately $10 million more to spend. Proponents of larger budgets for the financial regulators seem to see a directly proportional relationship between the amount of money each agency has at its disposal and the health of our capital markets. Based on the commissions' records, one wonders. The CFTC has employed much of its budget in recent years to remake the derivatives markets in a haphazard way that could impair their ability to serve the Main Street companies, farmers, and others that rely on them. The SEC has poured resources into writing (and defending against legal challenges) rules such as the proxy access rule, which would have paved the way for backroom deals with special constituencies at the expense of other shareholders, and the conflict minerals rule, which the SEC crafted to be even more onerous than the statute requires it to be. Both agencies already have large budgets that reflect the important roles they play in our capital markets, but congressional reluctance to send more money their way is not surprising given the way they might spend it.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.