The CFTC Deadline . . . Wavers

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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)&#8217-s Concept Release on the Appropriate Regulatory Treatment of Event Contracts says, &#8220-Comments must be received by July 7, 2008.&#8221- What deadline does that impose? I played it safe, and assumed that I had to send mine in before midnight, this morning. Today, I learned from Bruce Fekrat, Special Counsel to the Office of the Director of the CFTC, that in fact I had up until this coming midnight to email my comments.

Any lawyer worth his or her salt knows better than to use the ambiguous &#8220-by&#8221- when specifying a deadline. The CFTC should have said, &#8220-Comments must be received before July 8, 2008.&#8221- Thanks to its poor drafting, I rushed my comment out the door, missed the chance to get lots of new signatures, and wasted time swapping emails with various people equally confounded about what the CFTC meant.

Sigh. And to think that some people hope the CFTC will assert jurisdiction over prediction markets and clarify their legality under U.S. law! If the CFTC cannot get even something so routine as specifying a deadline right, I shudder to think what sort of confusion it might impose on prediction markets.

[Crossposted at Agoraphilia and Midas Oracle.]

Previous blog posts by Tom W. Bell:

  • Free Speech in Event Market Claims
  • Let’s Tell the CFTC Where to Go.
  • Let Prediction Markets Fight Terrorism.
  • Protecting Private Prediction Markets
  • Building Exits into CFTC Regulation
  • Insider Trading and Private Prediction Markets
  • Getting from Collective Intelligence to Collective Action

5 thoughts on “The CFTC Deadline . . . Wavers

  1. Chris F. Masse said:

    Send an appendix with your additional thoughts and the additional signatures. :-D

    By the way, I told the CFTC to extend the commenting period till September 7th. :-D

  2. Bo Cowgill said:

    I’m not inclined to think they’ll take the deadline too seriously anyway, given that they probably won’t have a ruling until a new CFTC chairman is installed after the deadline. There’s plenty of time still left to comment — at least that’s my take.

  3. Bo Cowgill said:

    By the way Tom: What’s the deal? Your comments to Businessweek seemed supportive of CFTC involvement.

  4. Jason Ruspini said:

    Somehow I immediately understood what they meant because they obviously would not want a non-business day to be the last day of submission. I wonder what that means? I also had the same inclination as Bo. You won’t get an “F” if you’re a little late.

  5. Chris F. Masse said:

    They should have said:

    “Comments must be received by July 7, 2008, before midnight.”


    ” Comments Close Date:  July 7, 2008 at midnight”

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