) is anindependent agency of the US governmentcreated in 1974, that regulatesfuturesandoptionmarkets.
The Commodities Exchange Act (CEA),7 U.S.C.1et seq., prohibits fraudulent conduct in the trading of futures contracts. The stated mission of the CFTC is to foster open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound markets, to avoid systemic risk, and to protect the market users and their funds, consumers, and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to derivatives and other products that are subject to theCommodity Exchange Act.3After theFinancial crisis of 20072008and since 2010 with theDoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, CFTC has been transitioning to bring more transparency and stricter regulation to the multitrillion dollar swaps market.4
Futures contractsfor agriculturalcommoditieshave been traded in the U.S. for more than 150 years and have been under Federal regulation since the 1920s.5TheGrain Futures Actof 1922 set the basic authority and was changed by the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 1 et seq.).67
Since the 1970s,8trading in futures contracts has expanded rapidly beyond traditional physical and agricultural commodities into a vast array of financial instruments, including foreign currencies, U.S. and foreign government securities, and U.S. and foreign stock indices.
Congress created the CFTC in 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate. TheCommodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974(P.L. 93-463) created the CFTC to replace theU.S. Department of AgricultureCommodity Exchange Authorityas the independent federal agency responsible for regulating commodity futures andoptionmarkets in the United States. The Act made extensive changes in the basic authority of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) of 1936, which itself had made extensive changes in the originalGrain Futures Act of 1922. (7 U.S.C. 1 et seq.).79
CFTCs mandate was renewed and expanded in December 2000 when Congress passed theCommodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which instructed theSecurities and Exchange Commission(SEC) and the CFTC to develop a joint regulatory regime forsingle-stock futures, the products of which began trading in November 2002. As of 2003 the growth in the value ofswapshad exploded since their introduction in the late 1970s.10
In 2010, theDoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, expanded the CFTCs authority into theswaps markets, to prohibit the reckless use of manipulative schemes without -as in the past- having to prove the specific intent of the accused to affect prices and the existence of an artificial price.1112
The CFTC assures utility of the futures markets by encouraging their competitiveness and efficiency, ensuring their integrity, protecting market participants against manipulation, abusive trading practices, fraud, and ensuring the financial integrity of theclearing process. The CFTC like the SEC, does not directly regulate the safety and soundness of individual firms, with the exception of newly regulated swap dealers and major swap participants, for whom it sets capital standards pursuant to Dodd-Frank.13Through oversight, the CFTC enables the futures markets to serve the function ofprice discoveryand offsetting price risk.
As of 2014 the CFTC oversees designated contract markets (DCMs) orexchangesswap execution facilities(SEFs), derivativesclearing organizationsswap data repositoryswapdealers,futures commission merchantscommodity pool operatorsand other intermediaries. The CFTC coordinates its work with foreign regulators, such as its UK counterpart, theFinancial Conduct Authority, which supervises theLondon Metal Exchange.12
In 1998 CFTC chairpersonBrooksley E. Bornlobbied Congress and the President14pageneeded15to give the CFTC oversight of off-exchange markets forover-the-counter(OTC)derivativesin addition to its existing oversight of exchange-traded derivatives,16but her warnings were opposed by other regulators.17
Two actions by the CFTC in 1998 led some market participants to express concerns that the CFTC might modify the Swap Exemption and attempt to impose new regulations on the swap market.18First, in a February 1998 comment letter addressing the SECs broker-dealer lite proposal, the CFTC stated that the SECs proposal would create the potential for conflict with the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) to the extent that certain OTC derivative instruments fall within the ambit of the CEA and are subject to the exclusive statutory authority of the CFTC.19
In May 1998 the CFTC issued a concept release requesting comment on whether regulation of OTC derivatives markets was appropriate and, if so, what form such regulation should take.20Legislation enacted in 1999 at the request of theUS Treasury, theFederal Reserve Board, and the SEC limited the CFTCs rulemaking authority with respect to swaps and hybrid instruments until March 30, 1999, and froze the pre-existing legal status of swap agreements and hybrid instruments entered into in reliance on the Swap Exemption, the Hybrid Instrument Rule, the Swap Policy Statement, or the Hybrid Interpretation.21The text of that act read: …the Commission may not propose or issue any rule or regulation, or issue any interpretation or policy statement, that restricts or regulates activity in a qualifying hybrid instrument or swap agreement. Shortly after Congress had passed this legislation prohibiting CFTC from regulating derivatives, Born resigned.15She later commented the failure ofLong-Term Capital Managementand the subsequent bailout as being indicative what she had been trying to prevent.15notes 1
Since 1991 the CFTC has given secret exemptions from hedging regulations to 19 major banks and market participants, allowing them to accumulate essentially unlimited positions.22These exemptions came to light only after the 2008 financial crisis had unfolded and Congress requested information on market participants. A trader or bank granted an exemption as a bona-fide hedger can affect the price of a commodity without being either its producer or consumer.23
In December 2007 during thesubprime mortgage crisis, the CFTC began investigating transportation, storage and trading of U.S. crude oil for price manipulation, which included a probe of U.S. crude oil futures.24notes 2By May 2008, when the price of crude oil futures showed a meteoric rise of 40% to a record $US 135 a barrel there were concerns that the record prices may have been the result of manipulation or fraud.24Michael Haigh, head of U.S. commodities research in New York atSocit GnraleSA, and former CFTC associate chief economist, said in an interview Its unprecedented for the CFTC to say that they are in the midst of an investigation.[..] They may be under pressure from Congress to look at this market given the high prices. Some argued that crude oil market fundamentals drive the price, not the speculative market.25
On June 25, 2008 Speaker Pelosi sent a letter to President Bush calling on him to direct the CFTC to use its emergency powers to take immediate action to curb excessive speculation in energy markets, to investigate all energy contracts and that despite growing reports of excessive speculation in energy markets, the CFTC refused to take actions they have taken in the past.26TheEnergy Markets Emergency Act of 2008was a failed bill that would have attempted to curb excessive speculation in the energy futures markets.
In a campaign speech August 2008 presidential candidateBarack Obamaargued thatloopholesin CFTC regulations contributed toskyrocketingprices and lack of transparency on oil markets.27
In April 2010 Reuters reported that of the 40 major figures in the oil industry, including traders and analysts at some of the largest banks, trading houses and oil companies interviewed, the vast majority (73 percent) thought increased speculation boosted prices beyond what supply and demand fundamentals dictated.28Peregrine Financial Groupanalyst Phil Flynn argued that in terms of supply and demand fundamentals, oil markets were only the messenger.28By April the CFTC began to rein in speculation in energy and commodity trading, especially oil, and proposed limiting the number of futures contracts financial players can hold at any one time.28
In November 2014, the CFTC and the UK Financial Conduct Authority fined six banks for manipulating theforeign exchange market; JPMorgan, Chase, Citigroup, HSBC, RBS, and UBS paid roughly $1.2 billion to FCA and $1.5 billion, or about $300 million apiece to the CFTC.29
In March 2014 the CFTC acknowledged it was considering the regulation of Bitcoin.30The CFTC could treat Bitcoin transactions as swaps, futures, or spot transactions, otherwise Bitcoin would likely be a commodity under the CEA.31In October, CFTCs Global Markets Advisory Committee discussedvirtual currencies. Mark Wetjen wrote in an OpEd by the WSJ afterwards that [bitcoin] could play a fascinating role in the derivatives markets as well as financial services.32and that a swap contract on Bitcoin that had been listed for trading by one registered trading platform was recently presented to CFTC.
In 2015, the CFTC ruled that for purposes of trading, cryptocurrencies were legally classified as commodities.33However, in view of the market volatility and magnitude of profitability, the CFTC noted several risks associated with trading virtual currencies.34In 2017, the CFTC cited the US SECs warning against token sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs) that can improperly entice investors with promises of high returns.35
Based in Washington, D.C., the CFTC maintains regional offices in Chicago, New York and Kansas City, Missouri. The Commission consists of fiveCommissionersappointed by the President of the United States to serve staggered five-year terms. The President, with the consent of theUnited States Senate, designates one of the Commissioners to serve as Chairman. No more than three Commissioners at any one time may be from the same political party.
The Chairmans staff has responsibility for providing information about the Commission, interacting with other entities and for the preparation and dissemination of Commission documents. The Chairmans staff includes theOffice of the Inspector General, which conducts audits of CFTC programs and operations, and the Office of International Affairs, the focal point for the Commissions global regulatory coordination efforts.
The Office of External Affairs (OEA) is the Commissions liaison with news media, producer and market user groups, educational groups, and the general public. OEA provides information about the regulatory mandate, the economic role of the futures markets, new market instruments, market regulation, enforcement actions, and customer protection initiatives.
The Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight oversees the registration, compliance, and business conduct standards of intermediaries, swap dealers and major swap participants.
The functions of the Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight include oversight of derivatives clearing organizations.
The Division of Market Oversight has regulatory responsibility for initial recognition and continuing oversight of trade execution facilities, including new registered futures exchanges and derivatives transaction execution facilities. The regulatory functions of the Division include, among other things,market surveillance, trade practice reviews and investigations, rule enforcement reviews, review of product-related and market-related rule amendments, and associated product and market-related studies.Director as of 2013 is Vincent A. McGonagle38
The Division of Enforcement investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations. Violations may involve commodity futures or option trading on domestic commodity exchanges, or the improper marketing of commodity investments. The Division may, at the direction of the Commission, file complaints before the agencys administrative law judges or in theU.S. District Courts. Alleged criminal violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or violations of other Federal laws which involve commodity futures trading may be referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. The Division also provides expert help and technical assistance with case development and trials to U.S. Attorneys Offices, other Federal and state regulators, and international authorities. The director of the Division of Enforcement until 2008 wasGregory Mocek, followed byDavid Meisteruntil October 2013, followed byGretchen L. Lowe,39and is Aitan Goelman.40
The Office of the Chief Economist is an independent office with responsibility for providing expert economic advice to the Commission. Its functions include policy analysis, economic research, expert testimony, education, and training. As of 2014 the office is held by Sayee Srinivasan.41
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is the Commissions legal advisor. OGC staff represents the Commission in appellate litigation and certain trial-level cases, including bankruptcy proceedings which involve futures industry professionals. As the Commissions legal advisor, OGC reviews all substantive regulatory, legislative, and administrative matters presented to it and advises the Commission on the application and interpretation of the Commodity Exchange Act and other administrative statutes. OGC also assists the Commission in performing its adjudicatory functions. Head as of April 2013 is Jonathan L. Marcus.42
The Office of the Executive Director (OED) formulates and implements the management and administrative policies and functions of the agency. OED staff formulate the agencys budget, supervise the allocation and use of agency resources, promote management controls and financial integrity, and develop and maintain the agencys automated information systems. The Office of Proceedings, which is under the administrative direction of OED, provides an inexpensive and expeditious forum for handling customer complaints against people or firms registered with theNational Futures Association(NFA) through its reparations program. The Office of Proceedings also hears and decides enforcement cases brought by the Commission.
It is responsible for recording and monitoring the trading offutures contractson United Statesfutures exchanges. The CFTC has the authority to fine, suspend, or sue the company or individual in afederal courtin cases of misconduct,fraud, or if a rule breaking occurs.
The CFTC publishes weekly reports containing details of holdings for market-segments, which have 20 or more reportable participants. The reports are released every Friday (including data from the previous Tuesday) and contain data on open interest split by reportable and non-reportableopen interestas well as commercial and non-commercial open interest. This type of report is referred to as theCommitments of Traders Report, COT-Report or simply COTR.
The CFTC is authorized to regulatecommodity poolsand commodity trading advisors. Manyhedge fundsoperate as commodity pools. In an address to theSecurities Industry Associationin 2004, Sharon Brown-Hruska, acting director of the CFTC, said that 65 of the top 100 hedge funds in 2003 were commodity pools, and 50 out of the 100 largest hedge funds were CTAs in addition to being commodity pools.43
In 2012,Christopher Ehrman, a SEC veteran was selected to run the new Office of the Whistleblower for the CFTC.44In an interview published inThe Wall Street Journal, Mr. Ehrman is quoted: One is just understanding enforcement. Im an enforcement guy and I did investigations and brought cases for a number of years. I understand what folks in enforcement are looking for. Whistleblower complaints have no intrinsic value. When theyre just sitting here with me, they just dont mean anything. Theyre valuable to the enforcement division so that they can bring investigations.45The website for the program claims that information that was first submitted to the CFTC after July 21, 2010 the date of enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act is eligible for a whistleblower award. And continues to explain The information, however, can be about conduct that happened at any time.
Under the program, the CFTC will issue rewards to whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to CFTC enforcement actions or related actions with total civil penalties in excess of $1 million. A whistleblower may receive a reward of between 1030 percent of the total sanctions imposed.
The CFTC announced its first award of approximately $240,000 to a whistleblower on May 20, 2014. The second award of approximately $290,000 was announced on September 29, 2015.
Sharon Y. Bowen (term of Service 06/09/14 09/29/17)
Timothy Massad(term of Service 6/5/14 02/17/17)
Mark P. Wetjen (term of Service 10/25/11 08/28/15)
Scott D. OMalia (term of Service 10/19/09 08/08/14)
Bart Chilton(term of Service 08/08/07 03/21/14)
Gary Gensler(Chairman 05/26/09 01/3/14) (term of Service 05/26/09 01/3/14)
Jill E. Sommers(term of Service 08/08/07 07/08/13)
Michael V. Dunn (Acting Chairman 1/20/09 5/25/09) (term of Service 11/21/04 10/24/11)
Walter L. Lukken (Acting Chairman 6/27/07- 01/20/09) (term of Service 08/07/02 07/10/09)
Reuben Jeffery, III(chairman 07/11/05 6/27/07) (term of Service 07/11/05 06/27/07)
Frederick W. Hatfield (term of Service 12/06/04 12/31/06)
Sharon Brown-Hruska (Acting Chairman 08/24/04 07/10/05) (term of Service 08/07/02 07/28/06)
James E. Newsome (Acting Chairman 01/20/01 12/27/01) (chairman 12/27/01 07/23/04) (term of Service 08/10/98 07/23/04)
Thomas J. Erickson (term of Service 06/21/99 12/01/02)
Barbara P. Holum (Acting Chairwoman 12/22/93 10/07/94) (term of Service 11/28/93 12/09/03)
David D. Spears (Acting Chairman 06/02/99 08/10/99) (term of Service 09/03/96 12/20/01)
Brooksley E. Born(Chairwoman 08/26/96 06/01/99)
John E. Tull, Jr. (Acting Chairman 01/27/96 08/25/96) (term of Service 11/24/93 02/27/99)
Joseph B. Dial (term of Service 06/20/91 11/13/97)
Mary L. Schapiro(Chairwoman 10/13/94 01/26/96) (term of Service 10/13/94 01/26/96)
Sheila C. Bair(Acting Chairwoman 08/22/93 12/21/93) (term of Service 05/02/91 06/16/95)
William P. Albrecht (Acting Chairman 01/22/93 08/20/93) (term of Service 11/22/88 08/20/93)
Wendy L. Gramm(term of Service 02/22/88 01/22/93)
Fowler C. West (term of Service 10/06/82 01/20/93)
Kalo A. Hineman (Acting Chairman 07/27/87 02/22/83) (term of Service 01/12/82 06/19/91)
Robert R. Davis (terms of Service 10/03/84 04/30/90)
William Rainer (term of Service 08/11/99 01/19/01)
William E. Seale (term of Service 11/16/83 09/01/88)
Susan M. Philips(Chairwoman 11/17/83 07/24/87) (Acting Chairwoman 05/28/83 11/16/83) (term of Service 11/16/81 07/24/87)
Philip McBride Johnson (Chairman 6/8/81 5/01/83) (term of Service 06/06/81 05/01/83)
James M. Stone (Chairman 05/04/79 06/08/81) (term of Service 05/04/79 01/31/83)
Reed P. Dunn (term of Service 04/15/75 11/13/81)
David G. Gartner (term of Service 05/19/78 10/05/82)
Robert L. Martin (term of Service 06/20/75 08/31/81)
Gary L. Seevers (Acting Chairman 12/06/78 05/03/79) (term of Service 04/15/75 06/01/79)
William T. Bagley (term of Service 04/15/75 11/15/78)
John V. Rainbolt (term of Service 04/15/75 05/18/78)
Unlike the other four main financial regulators, the CFTC does not have self-funding. A transaction fee has been requested for several years but Congress has not taken any legislative action. During the government shut down in October 2013, SEC and Federal Reserve stayed open, but futures and most swaps markets were left with essentially no cop on the beat.47
In 2007, the CFTCs budget was $98 million and it had 437 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). After 2008, funding increased by 80% to $205 million and 687 FTEs for fiscal year (FY) 2012, but was cut to $180.4 million and 682 FTEs for FY 2013.48In 2013 CFTCs performance was severely affected by limited resources and had to delay cases.49The current, FY 2014 funding of $215m did not keep up with CFTCs increasing swaps market oversight and regulation, equivalent to tens of trillions of dollars in formerly dark market trading, according to outgoing Commissioner Bart Chilton in his last speech.47The Obama administrations latest budget proposal for FY 2015 requested $280m, which is $35m less than the request for the previous year,50and would fund 100 less employees than we need per Chilton, who called the budget woefully insufficient for CFTCs more than 40-fold increased purview.47In February 2014, Commissioner Scott D. OMalia dissented from the FY 2014 spending plan saying that it did not allocate enough funding to new technology investments, but allocated too much to swap dealer oversight, duplicating the work of the self-regulatoryNational Futures Association.51In March he dissented from the FY 2015 budget request stating CFTC makes an unrealistic request for new staff and funding in this budget request without a firm understanding of its mission priorities, specific goals, and corresponding personnel and technology needs.52
Futures Industry Association, trade organization
Securities market participants (United States)
Born was the focus of an October 2009 Frontline documentary titled The Warning and was also chronicled in the documentary
. The two films recount her attempts to investigate and regulate the OTCderivativesmarket (PBS Frontline The Warning)
Crude oil futures in December 2007 were at ,0 US (Yedlin June 5, 2008).
History of the CFTCRetrieved from Internet Archive January 13, 2014.
Commodity Futures Trading CommissionRetrieved from Internet Archive January 13, 2014.
Ackermann, Andrew (April 9, 2014).Senate Panel Approves Three Nominees to CFTC WSJ. Archived from
theFutures Trading Act of 1921, Declared unconstitutional inHill v. Wallace259 U.S. 44 (1922), theGrain Futures Actof 1922 andBoard of Trade of City of Chicago v. Olsen262 US 1 (1923).
This article incorporatespublic domain materialfrom theCongressional Research ServicedocumentReport for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 EditionbyArchivedAugust 10, 2011, at theWayback MachineJasper Womach.
Dennis W. Carlton (1984).Futures Markets: Their Purpose, Their History, Their Growth, Their Successes and Failures.
This article incorporatespublic domain materialfrom theCongressional Research ServicedocumentReport for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 EditionbyArchivedAugust 10, 2011, at theWayback MachineJasper Womach.
Governing Global Finance: Financial derivatives, liberal states and transformative capacity
Antidisruptive Practices Authority, 78 FR 31890
Testimony of Vincent McGonagle, Director Division of Market Oversight, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Before the Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. January 15, 2014
Murphy, Edward V (May 28, 2013).Who Regulates Whom and How? An Overview of U.S. Financial Regulatory Policy for Banking and Securities Markets
Capital Offense: How Washingtons Wise Men Turned Americas Future Over to Wall Street
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Concept Release Concerning Over-The-Counter Derivatives market, CFTC Release 4142-98, May 7, 1998.
Goodman, Peter S.The Reckoning Taking Hard New Look at a Greenspan Legacy
Over-the-Counter Derivatives Markets and the Commodity Exchange Act
, PresidentsWorking Group on Financial Markets, archived fromthe original
Letter from Jean A. Webb, Secretary, CFTC, to Jonathan G. Katz, Secretary, SEC (February 26, 1998).
Over-the-Counter Derivatives, 63 Fed. Reg. 26,114 (May 12, 1998).
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, 760, as enacted in Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub. L. No. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681, 268135 (1998).
David Stawick, Secretary of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (March 17, 2009).FR Doc. E9-6187. Washington, DC.
Brush, Silla; Loder, Asjylyn (December 15, 2010).Wall Street Pushes for Delay in U.S. Rules to Curb Commodities Speculation.
Matthew Leising; Alexander Kwiatkowski (May 30, 2008).U.S. Probes Crude Oil Trading for Price Manipulation. Bloomberg.
Deborah Yedlin (June 5, 2008). Witch hunt wont fix oil price. Calgary, Alberta: Calgary Herald.
Energy Markets Emergency Act. Speaker Nancy Pelosi. June 26, 2008
Barack Obama and Joe Biden: New energy for America
. Obama for America. August 3, 2008. Archived fromthe original
David Sheppard (April 27, 2010).Financial speculation seen boosting oil price: Financial speculators in oil are costing consumers at least $300 billion a year, according to almost 75 percent of industry players surveyed by Reuters. Reuters
Lee Brodie (November 12, scandal sparks CFTC outrage, aggression.
U.S. swaps watchdog says considering bitcoin regulation.
Todd P. Zerega, Thomas Watterson (March 12, 2014).United States: Bitcoin And The CFTC: Spoting The Jurisdictional Hook.
Mark Wetjen (November 3, 2014).Bringing Commodities Regulation to Bitcoin.
Understand the Risks of Virtual Currency Trading
Investor Bulletin: Initial Coin Offerings. US Securities and Exchange Commission
Current CFTC Commissioners. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Schroeder, Pete.U.S. Senate confirms pair of commissioners to join CFTC.
CFTC Announces Vincent A. McGonagle as Director of the Division of Market Oversight.
CFTC Announces Gretchen L. Lowe as Acting Director of Division of Enforcement.
CFTC Chairman Massad Announces the Appointment of Aitan Goelman as Director of Enforcement. June 10, 2014
CFTC Announces Sayee Srinivasan as the Acting Chief Economist.
CFTC Announces Jonathan L. Marcus as General Counsel.
Hedge Funds 101: A Primer for Regulators. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. November 30, 2004
Rachel Louise Ensign.Q&A: Christopher Ehrman, Director, CFTCs Whistleblower Office.
Statement of Commissioner Bart Chilton on the Presidents FY 2015 Budget.
Georgia Republican Jack Kingston faulted the CFTC for not preventing or foreseeing the collapse of M.F. Global last year or J.P. Morgans loss of more than $2 billion in derivatives trade this year. We spent a lot of money. What did we get for it? Zero, said Kingston, adding, Were not seeing brilliance.
Jean Eaglesham (November 1, 2013).CFTC Backs Off, Lacking Funding.
Andrew Ackerman (February 28, 2014).Obama to Request 30% Bump in CFTC Funding.
Statement of Dissent by Commissioner Scott D. OMalia, Fiscal Year 2014 Spending Plan.
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The WarningPBSWGBHFrontlineOctober 20, 2009. Documentary about 2008 financial collapse withBrooksley Bornspeaking about her failed campaign to regulate the derivatives market. also:Background material
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Background and Current Issuespublished by theCongressional Research ServiceJune 24, 2013, 379 KB, 23pp
CFTC Official Tied to Wall Street Profits From Merger Fight(January 2015),
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Financial regulatory authorities of the United States
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Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers
This page was last edited on 13 May 2019, at 16:07