The congress members claimed that SEC’s inquiries in the crypto community could kill American innovations.
According to a recent report by prominent media outlet, The American Prospect, a bipartisan group of congress members tried to slow down the Securities and Exchange Commission’s information requests to various cryptocurrency exchanges, including FTX, in March.
A total of eight U.S. congress members – four Republicans and four Democrats – had in a March letter questioned the SEC’s authority to inquire about cryptocurrency-related projects.
The eight United States house members, referred to as the “Blockchain Eight” by the Prospect, include Tom Emmer (R-MN), Ted Budd (R-NC), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), and Darren Soto (D-FL).
FTX’s Campaign Donations to House Members
Per the report, FTX employees made campaign donations to five out of the eight house members, ranging from $2,900 to $11,600. Rep Budd also received $500K in campaign donations from a super PAC established by FTX co-CEO Ryan Salame.
Furthermore, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NCRC), the campaign unit of House Republicans headed by Rep Emmer, received huge donations worth $5.5 million from FTX and its associates. These campaign donations contributed to helping Republicans win the majority offices in 2022, the Prospect noted.
In a tweet in March, Rep. Emmer said the SEC’s information requests to the crypto community are “overburdensome.”
My office has received numerous tips from crypto and blockchain firms that SEC Chair @GaryGensler’s information reporting “requests” to the crypto community are overburdensome, don’t feel particularly… voluntary… and are stifling innovation.
— Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer) March 16, 2022
Rep. Emmer said the inquiries are stifling innovations, adding that the congressmen will ensure that “regulators [like the SEC] do not kill American innovation and opportunities.”
Reacting to Emmer’s tweet, the Prospect stated:
“This raises the question of whether Emmer and the other congress members were acting on behalf of FTX (which has been credibly accused of snatching customer money to make risky bets) to try to chill an ongoing investigation from an independent regulatory and law enforcement agency.”
Emmer Blames Gensler and SBF For FTX’s Collapse
Recall that Emmer recently blamed SEC chair Gary Gensler and former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) for the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. Emmer said the meeting held between Gensler and SBF on March 23 was part of an effort to give FTX special treatment.
“They were working with Sam Bankman-Fried and others to give them special treatment from the SEC that others aren’t getting,” he said.
Emmer further accused Gensler of going after good actors in the crypto space while working backroom deals with bad players.