US House Committee Leadership Threatens to Subpoena SEC Over FTX Docs – Representative Patrick McHenry, who leads the United States House Financial Services Committee, has indicated the possibility of pursuing a subpoena against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for documents pertaining to former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF.
In a Sept. 27 hearing on oversight of the commission, McHenry claimed chair SEC Gary Gensler had made efforts to “choke off the digital asset ecosystem” in addition to “refus[ing] to be transparent with Congress” in a connections between the commission,FTX and SBF. The committee chair said the government body had “made multiple requests” for documents regarding the timing of SBF’s arrest given a previously scheduled appearance before Congress.
“Seven months later, the committee has not received a single non-public document that was not part of a [Freedom of Information Act] production,” said McHenry. “As I said, our patience is wearing thin […] I do not want to be the first chairman of this committee to issue a subpoena to the Securities and Exchange Commission.” In February, the committee leadership led by McHenry asked the SEC to furnish documents pertaining to communications among its staff and with the Justice Department concerning charges against Bankman-Fried.
McHenry reiterated this request in both April and May, contending that the SEC had only supplied publicly accessible information. While McHenry’s initial statement during the hearing centered on digital assets and oversight, Maxine Waters, the ranking member, expressed concerns about how a potential U.S. government shutdown might impact the SEC’s capabilities.
Gensler noted that if U.S. lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on government spending by September 30, approximately 92-93% of SEC staff would face furloughs. Upon questioning from McHenry, Gensler said Bitcoin was “not a security” as it didn’t meet the Howie test over what qualifies as an investment contract. The SEC chair comments seemed to affirm the same position on BTC he took during his time as professor with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018.