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US Lawmaker Blasts SEC for Deliberately Obfuscating Crypto Regulations — Questions Chair Gensler’s Personal Agenda

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US Lawmaker Blasts SEC for Deliberately Obfuscating Crypto Regulations — Questions Chair Gensler's Personal Agenda

A U.S. lawmaker has slammed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for having a deliberate policy preference to provide less clarity to the crypto market. “The SEC is not adhering to the law. That’s why it keeps losing in court,” said Congressman Tom Emmer as he questioned SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s personal agenda.

‘SEC Has a Deliberate Policy Preference to Provide Less Clarity to the Marketplace’

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) slammed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s approach to the regulation of the crypto industry on Tuesday at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion titled “Fostering Financial Innovation: How Agencies Can Leverage Technology to Shape the Future of Financial Services.”

The lawmaker posted on social media platform X after the hearing:

If it wasn’t obvious before, it’s certainly obvious now: The SEC has a deliberate policy preference to provide LESS clarity to the marketplace instead of more clarity. Complete disservice to our great capital markets.

Among the witnesses who testified in the congressional hearing was Valerie A. Szczepanik, director of the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (Finhub).

Referencing a speech titled “Digital Asset Transactions: When Howey Met Gary” given by William Hinman in June 2018 when he was the director of the Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC, Emmer explained that in this speech, Hinman discussed “how tokens can morph from securities to non-securities and he stated that ether is not a security.”

Citing Szczepanik’s review of Hinman’s draft speech, the congressman quoted her as saying at the time that providing “less detail in a speech is better because the concept of a token morphing from a security to a non-security was a new concept and would generate a lot of discussions.” Emmer emphasized:

You thought the SEC should give less clarity to the market rather than more … When the industry complains about a lack of clarity, I see this as a deliberate policy reference. Does the current SEC chair share that view?

Szczepanik declined to comment on the current chair’s view.

Congressman Emmer proceeded to ask Szczepanik whether Finhub has “issued any guidance since Chair Gensler took office to clarify how security laws apply to crypto.” After the Finhub director failed to provide an answer, Emmer said: “I take the answer is no, because it is no. It seems to be rulemaking through enforcement actions.”

Concerning Hinman’s speech stating that ether is not security, Emmer asked Szczepanik: “Is that your view today?” However, she declined to answer, stating that she couldn’t comment on a particular asset. The congressman concluded:

The SEC is not adhering to the law. That’s why it keeps losing in court. Does the chairman of the SEC tell you to adopt positions to further a specific goal, his own personal goal rather than allegiance to the law?

Szczepanik replied: “I can’t comment on any matters that are pending litigation.”

Emmer has repeatedly criticized the SEC and Chair Gensler for their enforcement-centric approach to regulating the crypto industry. In June, he joined Rep. Warren Davidson in supporting the SEC Stabilization Act that seeks to fire Gensler as the chair of the securities regulator. The House of Representatives recently adopted an amendment Emmer attached to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2024 that limits the authority of the SEC to carry out enforcement actions against the crypto industry. In November, the lawmaker from Minnesota urged Congress to spend resources to “bring more crypto activity and opportunities onshore to bolster U.S. national security.”

Do you agree with Congressman Tom Emmer about the SEC and do you think SEC Chair Gary Gensler has a personal agenda in regulating the crypto industry? Let us know in the comments section below.


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