Hedge Fund Twins Fight Energy Regulator Appointment

Apr 10 2014 | 9:26am ET

A Pennsylvania-based hedge fund run by identical twins Rich and Kevin Gates wants to halt the confirmation of Norman Bay as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Bay, who is currently director of the FERC's enforcement arm, has imposed more than $881 million in combined fines on Barclays, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank for alleged price manipulation.

The Gates' Powhatan Energy Fund, itself under investigation for rigging a power-hub market, has launched a web site proclaiming it is being targeted unfairly for benefiting from a loophole in FERC's rules and arguing that under Bay, the enforcement office has gone too far.

“The government wields tremendous power when they swing around the charge of market manipulation,” Rich Gates told Bloomberg. Taking their battle public “was an insurance policy against our personal and professional reputations,” said Kevin Gates.

A lawyer for the hedge fund said they were actively lobbying senators and staffers in their efforts to block Bay's nomination for the top job at the FERC.

Bay, a former U.S. Attorney in New Mexico during the Clinton administration, joined the FERC as enforcement director in July 2009. President Barack Obama said on January 30 that he would nominate Bay to chair the five-person commission but his confirmation hearings have yet to be scheduled by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Bay is Obama's second choice for the post: His first, Ron Binz, withdrew from consideration after failing to win support from key lawmakers.

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