James M. McDonald

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James M. McDonald
Occupation Director, Division of Enforcement
Employer Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Location Washington, DC
LinkedIn Profile
Website www.cftc.gov

James M. McDonald is an attorney, professor, prosecutor and regulator who serves as the director of the Division of Enforcement for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.[1][2] Before joining the CFTC, McDonald was a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.[3][4][5][6][7]

According to a Wall Street Journal report, McDonald will step down from his DOE position on October 8, 2020. The departure was viewed as unexpected. McDonald led CFTC investigators through numerous market manipulation cases, including one against JPMorgan Chase and Co. in which the firm agreed to pay the U.S. government nearly $1 billion in fines and disgorgement to settle spoofing charges.[8] [9]


McDonald is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He succeeded Aitan Goelman as director of the Division of Enforcement of the CFTC. Goelman stepped down in February of 2017.

McDonald has served as a law clerk to the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, and, before that, as a law clerk to United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton, Jr.

He previously served in the Office of White House Counsel, as a deputy associate counsel, and he worked at the law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP.

McDonald has also served as a visiting professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law, where he taught Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, Foreign Relations Law, and Supreme Court Decision making.


He holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a juris doctor from University of Virginia School of Law.


  1. CFTC Acting Chairman Giancarlo Appoints James McDonald as Enforcement Director. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  2. Remarks of CFTC Director of Enforcement James M. McDonald at the American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  3. James M. McDonald. Practicing Law Institute.
  4. CFTC Names James McDonald as its New Enforcement Chief. Finance Magnates.
  5. A Look Back on the CFTC’s Robust Year in Enforcement. CorporateComplianceInsights.com.
  6. CFTC Chief Taps New York Prosecutor for Top Enforcement Role. Wall Street Journal.
  7. CFTC to tap New York prosecutor to head enforcement unit -sources. Reuters.
  8. Top Wall Street Derivatives Cop to Step Down. WSJ.com.
  9. Government Settles Complaint Against Banking Giant for Almost $1 Billion. John Lothian News.