CFTC rules against Painter's request

In an order dated Oct. 25 the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) denied the request of retiring Administrative Law Judge George H. Painter to have his remaining cases reassigned to a judge detailed from another agency.

Two weeks ago, we reported that Painter had made the request in a notice sent to complainants and their attorneys in his remaining cases based on his belief that they would not get a fair hearing from the remaining CFTC administrative law judge, Bruce Levine.

Painter alleged that Levine told him that he had promised former CFTC Chair Wendy Gramm “that he would never rule in a complainant's favor” and added that a review of his rulings confirmed his bias. Painter also attached a December 2000 Wall Street Journal story by Michael Schroeder titled, “If you got a beef with a futures broker, This Judge Isn’t for You—In Eight Years at the CFTC, Levine Has Never Ruled In Favor of an Investor” that details Levine’s penchant for favoring brokers over investors seeking reparations.

A more recent Wall Street Journal article published after Painter’s allegations became public referenced court records from a guardianship petition filed by Painter’s wife claiming Painter has recently struggled with mental illness and alcoholism. The story cites conflicting medical opinions of Painter's mental health. The story didn’t reference the December 2000 article on Judge Levine.

In its order, the CFTC stated that Judge Painter lacked the authority to make “this unusual request” and that the cases would be reassigned to the other judge, presumably Judge Levine.

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