CFTC Official Who Regulated Political Betting Exchange Murdered

Posted on: February 5, 2024, 09:05h. 

Last updated on: February 5, 2024, 02:15h.

A former Obama and Trump administration official whose office oversaw a political betting exchange in the U.S. was gunned down last week in the nation’s capital.

Trump Mike Hill CFTC PredictIt
Mike Hill, a former official with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), was shot and killed in Washington, D.C., during an attempted carjacking. The CFTC helped an online political wagering exchange to operate in the U.S., though the agency is now trying to take it offline. (Image: Fox 5)

Mike Gill worked at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) during President Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s administrations. Gill was the chief of staff for CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo from October 2016 through November 2019.

A week ago today, on Monday, January 29, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department responded to shots fired involved in an attempted carjacking at the 900 block of K Street NW. The location is about a half-mile northeast of the White House.

Police found Mike Gill, 56, inside his Jeep Grand Cherokee that he had recently purchased. He had arrived in the early evening hours to pick up his wife, Kristina, at her law office near Mount Vernon Square.

Gill’s head was on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, with one leg still in the driver’s seat. The assailant fled on foot. Gill was transported to a hospital, where he remained in critical condition for six days. He died on Saturday, February 3.

It is with profound sadness that I wish to inform the community of the passing of my husband, Mike Gill. His sudden departure has left a void in our lives that can never be filled. In this time of grief, we are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and the community, and extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has reached out to offer condolences and assistance,” his widow wrote.

Trump weighed in on his Truth Social media platform.

“Wonderful and brilliant Mike Gill, a highly respected member of the Trump Administration, was ruthlessly and viciously shot in the head during a carjacking in Washington, D.C. He was a SPECIAL PERSON — His family and friends are devastated. The Federal Government must take over D.C. God bless Michael and his family,” Trump wrote.

Officer-involved Shooting

The attacker, identified as 28-year-old Artell Cunningham of Suitland, Md., then shot and killed another man and hijacked his Chrysler 200 vehicle. A ride-share driver later called 911 to report his Nissan being hijacked.

Around 1:30 a.m. the following morning, Tuesday, January 30, a man driving a Nissan shot at a Maryland State Police cruiser stopped for a disabled vehicle along southbound I-95 at Route 198. The same Nissan shot at a marked Metro DC police car along I-295 at Exit 1 around 2:30 a.m.

Police in Prince George’s County located the Nissan a short time later and engaged in an “officer-involved shooting,” said Jeff Carroll, executive assistant chief of the D.C. police. Cunningham was killed in the exchange.

Carjackings in D.C. soared more than 100% last year to nearly 1,000 incidences, with most involving a firearm or deadly weapon.

PredictIt Oversight

An independent agency of the federal government, the CFTC was founded in 1974 and regulates derivatives markets, which include futures, swaps, and other kinds of options. Regarding the betting world, the CFTC is best known as the federal agency that granted PredictIt the legal right to operate in the U.S.

PredictIt is an online political betting exchange run by New Zealand’s Victoria University. The platform is a not-for-profit educational project designed to determine if betting markets can predict the outcomes of certain events and political races more accurately than traditional means, such as public opinion polling.

In 2014, the CFTC issued PredictIt a No-Action Relief letter that allowed the platform to operate not-for-profit political contract markets. During Gill’s tenure at the agency, the CTFC allowed PredictIt to facilitate political wagering on the 2016 presidential election that saw Trump beat Hillary Clinton.

Betting Market Future

Hill departed the CFTC before the 2020 election for a private sector role. At the time of his death, he was working as senior vice president of capital markets at the Housing Policy Council, a trade group that advocates for a competitive marketplace.

In August 2022, the CFTC announced its intention to withdraw its No-Action Relief letter on the grounds that PredictIt had violated the terms of the document. PredictIt has since been appealing the agency’s decision via a lawsuit filed in Western Texas’ U.S. District Court. The federal court issued a temporary injunction in January 2023, allowing PredictIt to continue operating while the court reviews the case.

The crux of the lawsuit is whether Victoria University is profiting from PredictIt, as the CFTC alleges. Victoria University said in a March letter to the court that it only takes $2,000 monthly from the platform’s operation to cover its operating costs.