On Wednesday, Tom Emmer, the U.S. Republican congressman from Minnesota, revealed he sent a letter to Martin Gruenberg, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), regarding reports that the FDIC is “weaponizing recent instability” in the U.S. banking industry to “purge legal crypto activity” from the United States. Specifically, Emmer asked Gruenberg if the FDIC instructed banks not to provide banking services to cryptocurrency firms.
GOP Majority Whip Emmer Questions FDIC’s Involvement in Purging Legal Crypto Activity
Tom Emmer, a Republican politician from Minnesota, sent a letter to the chairman of the FDIC questioning whether the agency directed banks not to provide services to digital currency businesses. “Recent reports indicate that federal financial regulators have effectively weaponized their authorities over the last several months to purge legal digital asset entities and opportunities from the United States,” Emmer’s letter read.
The Minnesota congressman added:
Individuals from across the industry, including former House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank highlighted the targeted nature of these regulatory efforts to ‘single out’ financial institutions and ‘send a message to get people away from crypto.’
Emmer has been querying other U.S. lawmakers and agencies about their actions against crypto businesses, including questioning Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Gary Gensler about actions taken during the arrest of FTX’s disgraced co-founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. The politician has also introduced legislation that would prohibit the U.S. central bank “from issuing a [central bank digital currency] directly to anyone.”
Emmer’s comments about former lawmaker Barney Frank stem from the Signature Bank board member’s commentary about being surprised by Signature’s collapse. Frank said he suspected there was an “anti-crypto message” behind the bank’s demise. The New York State Department of Financial Services disagrees and explained that placing Signature into receivership of the FDIC had “nothing to do with crypto.”
Despite the regulator’s denial of such accusations, Emmer’s letter to the FDIC’s Gruenberg implicitly asks the chairman whether the FDIC specifically directed banks not to provide banking services to cryptocurrency firms.
”Have you communicated — explicitly or implicitly — to any banks that their supervision will be more onerous in any way if they take on new (or maintain existing) digital asset clients,” the politician asked. Emmer is insisting that Gruenberg provide the information as soon as possible and no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 24, 2023.