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In one of their final acts in the majority, House Democrats will lead a hearing into the activities of the bankrupted cryptocurrency firm FTX, whose CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, was the second largest donor to the Democrat Party after George Soros.
On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee announced it would conduct a hearing in December into the collapse of FTX and the broader economic consequences for the “digital asset ecosystem.”
The committee hopes to have Sam Bankman-Fried, the chief of both FTX and its related hedge fund Alameda Research, appear and testify as part of the hearing. It also plans to include Binance, a rival cryptocurrency exchange that has offered to buy FTX. FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week.
The Daily Signal reported on Tuesday that Gabe Bankman-Fried, the brother of the FTX CEO, is a former staffer for Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., a member of the House Financial Services Committee. A spokesperson for Casten’s office has not responded to inquiries regarding possible conflicts of interest as of Monday and again on Wednesday after the formal hearing announcement.
Democrats will be leading an investigation of someone who has been a documented political ally. Sam Bankman-Fried donated almost $127 million to Democrat candidates and liberal causes during the 2022 midterm election cycle. He also made an individual contribution of $2,800 to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Neither spokespersons for Democrats nor Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee responded to inquiries about the FTX CEO’s brother previously employment by a committee member.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of the committee, said the collapse of the company “posed tremendous harm” to 1 million cryptocurrency users.
“Unfortunately, this event is just one out of many examples of cryptocurrency platforms that have collapsed just this past year. That’s why it is with great urgency that I, along with my colleague Ranking Member [Patrick] McHenry, announce the Committee’s intention to hold a hearing to investigate the collapse of FTX,” Waters said in a public statement.
“As chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, I have led the effort in examining and investigating the digital assets marketplace, and know that we need legislative action to ensure that digital assets entities cannot operate in the shadows outside of robust federal oversight and clear rules of the road,” Waters added.
Representative Patrick McHenry, NC
Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., is the ranking member of the committee and will likely be the chairman in January when the new Republican majority takes control of the House.
“Oversight is one of Congress’ most critical functions and we must get to the bottom of this for FTX’s customers and the American people,” McHenry said in a statement. “It’s essential that we hold bad actors accountable so responsible players can harness technology to build a more inclusive financial system. I appreciate Chairwoman Waters’ working with Republicans to deliver accountability through a bipartisan process.” ✪