Representative Tom Emmer attacked the SEC Chair, labeling Gary Gensler as “ineffective” and “incompetent.”
Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota took to the House floor during a congressional session to criticize the Biden Administration and SEC Chair Gary Gensler, as the House enacted an appropriations bill intended to “reign in SEC enforcement abuses against the digital asset industry.”
Emmer launched his attack on the same day that Gensler addressed the annual DC Fintech Week conference. Gensler had told CNBC that anyone managed to seize the remnants of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX was free to bring the brand back as long as they “did it within the law.”
At the Capitol, Emmer delivered 700 words of planned criticism directed at Gensler and the SEC.
“With this administration, regulation by enforcement is a practice that is all too common,” Emmer stated. “This is especially true at the SEC with Chair Gary Gensler, and his attitude toward our financial services sector and capital markets, but especially with our developing community of digital assets.”
The “pattern of regulatory abuse, a pattern that is crushing American innovation and capital formation,” is something that Emmer claims would be stopped by the amendment he submitted to Congress.
According to Emmer, unless Congress passes legislation giving the SEC jurisdiction over this asset class, the amendment forbids the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from using funds for enforcement actions pertaining to transactions involving digital assets.
“Despite never completing a single rule or regulation for the industry to follow, the SEC has pursued dozens of enforcement actions against the digital asset industry under Gensler’s leadership,” Emmer stated. “Chair Gensler declines to give the market precise standards for digital assets he would classify as security.”
Emmer stated that the SEC lacked congressional jurisdiction over digital assets and that the agency had blatantly attempted to increase its power in order to “swallow and destroy” the digital asset market through enforcement-based regulation.
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Emmer added, “Chair Gensler instead spends taxpayer resources praising himself for targeting celebrities like Kim Kardashian while Sam Bankman-Fried was running a Ponzi scheme right under his nose at a time when clear guidance is desperately needed.”
Emmer stated that his proposal will send a message to all federal regulatory agencies that Congress will “hold unelected bureaucrats accountable.”
“This will keep Chair Gensler – who has proven himself to be ineffective and incompetent – in check while Congress continues working to give this industry a chance to grow and develop right here in the United States,” Emmer said in a statement.
While Emmer was condemning Gensler, the SEC head was attending a finance industry conference. During a “sideline” chat with CNBC reporter MacKenzie Sigalos, Gensler mentioned that FTX could be revived under former New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley.
Farley’s crypto exchange Bullish, together with Figure Technologies and Proof Group, is one of three leading bidders for FTX’s surviving assets in a bankruptcy auction, according to the Washington Post.
Gensler offered advise to the FTX brand’s new owners.
“Build the trust of investors in what you’re doing and ensure that you’re doing the proper disclosures,” according to him. “And also that you’re not commingling all these functions, trading against your customers, or using their crypto assets for your own purposes.”
In September, Gensler concluded that the cryptocurrency market was plagued with securities law violations.
“Given this industry’s widespread noncompliance with securities laws, it’s not surprising that we’ve seen so many problems,” Gensler wrote. “It’s reminiscent of what we had in the 1920s before the federal securities laws were put in place.”
However, with the demise of FTX last year, Gensler was chastised for his lenient treatment of FTX and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.
In December, New York Representative Ritchie Torres charged Gensler of failing to avert FTX’s demise and demanded an independent probe into the SEC’s dealings with FTX.
“If the SEC has the authority Mr. Gensler claims, why did he fail to uncover the largest crypto Ponzi scheme in U.S. history?” Torres wrote. “One cannot have it both ways, asserting authority while avoiding accountability.”
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