James M. McDonald

James M. McDonald

James M. McDonald is the Director of the Division of Enforcement (DOE) at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  In his role, he leads a team of attorneys, investigators, economists, surveillance analysts, and other professional staff who investigate and prosecute alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations that threaten market integrity, market participants, and the general public.

Mr. McDonald joined the CFTC in 2017 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.  At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. McDonald prosecuted a wide variety of cases, including various forms of financial fraud, public corruption, money laundering, racketeering, and murder.

Prior to joining the Justice Department in 2014, Mr. McDonald worked in private practice in Washington, DC at Williams & Connolly LLP as a litigation associate, where his practice centered on white collar defense, First Amendment litigation, and general civil litigation.

Mr. McDonald also currently serves as a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School, where he co-teaches a course on the intersection of business, regulation, and enforcement. Previously, he has taught courses on federal courts, constitutional law, foreign relations law, and Supreme Court decision-making as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law in his home state of Oklahoma.

Other Public Service

  • Deputy Associate Counsel to the President, The White House (2008-2009)
  • Law Clerk, Chambers of Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (2009-2010)
  • Law Clerk, Chambers of Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (2007-2008)


  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law (2007)
  • BA, Harvard University (2004)