Three Republican members of the United States House of Representatives Financial Services Committee have sent letters to the heads of U.S. banking regulatory agencies seeking information on possible coordinated efforts taken against digital asset firms. The letters follow up on ones sent to the same addresses by the lawmakers earlier.
The letters, dated April 25, were addressed to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chair Martin J. Gruenberg, Federal Reserve System chair Jerome Powell, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) acting comptroller Michael J. Hsu. The letters contained identical text with an individualized set of demands to see the agencies’ records.
The letters began by recalling the Obama Administration’s purported Operation Choke Point that encouraged banks to deny service to certain types of business. They continued:
“Today, we are seeing the resurgence of coordinated action by the federal prudential regulators to suppress innovation in the United States. There is no clearer example than in the digital asset ecosystem.”
The letters’ authors provided the examples of OCC Interpretive Letter 1179, the FDIC’s letter of April 2022 and the joint statement of the three agencies released in January. Despite the “run-of-the-mill fraud” seen in the crypto industry, “Digital asset activity is not inherently risky,” they say. Furthermore:
“Taken together, the actions of the Fed, FDIC, and OCC do not appear to be in reaction to recent events or the result of a sudden desire to protect financial institutions from risky behavior, but instead suggest a coordinated strategy to de-bank the digital asset ecosystem in the United States.”
The authors, Reps. Patrick McHenry, Bill Huizenga, and French Hill demand non-public records relating to communications between employees of each of the agencies addressed and the institutions they supervise in regard to the documents referenced.
Thank you! @PatrickMcHenry @RepFrenchHill @RepHuizenga This is a great step to bring transparency to the ongoing efforts to debank the digital asset ecosystem. @DigitalChamber brought our impacted members to the hill to talk about debanking last month. Conversations matter. https://t.co/RxW5g9MAvx
— Cody Carbone (@CodyCarboneDC) April 26, 2023