He previously served as one of five commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He received Senate confirmation on Oct. 8, 2009 to serve out a vacant term that ended in April 2010. Though he was subsequently elected to a full term that would have expired in April 2015, in July 2014 he announced he would be leaving the commission effective August 8.
O'Malia previously served as the staff director to the Senate Appropriations energy and water development, Committee on Appropriations where he focused on U.S. investment in clean energy technologies, including access to low-cost financing and driving technical innovation into the domestic energy sector.
From 2003 to 2004, O'Malia served on the Senate Energy and Resources Committee under chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) as senior policy advisor on oil, coal and gas issues.
From 1992 to 2001, he served as senior legislative assistant to Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-KY). O'Malia focused on energy policy during much of his career. Before joining the CFTC, he was the staff director at the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
He also established the Washington office of Mirant Corp., where he worked from 2001 to 2003 as a lobbyist, focusing on rules and standards for corporate risk management and energy trading for wholesale power producers.
He was previously nominated to the CFTC by President George W. Bush, but his nomination was blocked by Sen. Maria Cantwell. O'Malia's nomination was considered controversial by some in Congress because of his lobbyist work against regulation of the energy industry while at Mirant.
O'Malia, according to Mother Jones, was registered to lobby for the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, a law that is directed at curbing speculation by energy, natural gas and water utilities. That legislation was eventually replaced by a weaker regulatory framework. Mother Jones also reported that O'Malia signed up to lobby against a bill that would have expanded CFTC oversight of energy derivatives while at Mirant.
In November 2009, O'Malia issued a dissenting view to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler over new regulations for the over-the-counter derivatives market. O'Malia's written dissent argued that commercial companies that use OTC instruments such as swaps to hedge risk, should not be forced to trade their contracts on an exchange, or have their trades cleared at a clearinghouse.
O'Malia seved at the CFT through the bulk of the rule writing and implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. He has criticized certain CFTC rules for being confusing and having resulted in dozens of temporary relief or no-action letters, and that the CFTC has too often decided issues at the staff level rather than by commission vote. He was also critical of the commission's level of technological progress and, as the head of its Technology Advisory Committee, he worked toward industry consensus on issues such as high-frequency trading and swap data rules.
O'Malia has a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan.
John Lothian News Interviews, 2014
CFTC Commissioner Scott O’Malia, speaking to John Lothian News for its market structure series, said that HFT has been on the agency’s radar screen for some time, and has created a sub-committee to bring experts on both sides of the debate.
The CFTC is mandated to help police the futures arena and its much bigger relative, the swaps market. Collecting and monitoring data on the swaps market has been a vexing problem for the agency, but CFTC Commissioner Scott O’Malia said it will solve it.
O'Mailia participated in the MarketsWiki Education World of Opportunity series in London in October of 2016 at the Woolen Exchange.
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