Democratic Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia of Illinois, who received more than $150,000 in direct and indirect support from disgraced former crypto CEO and Democratic donor Sam Bankman-Fried, called for more regulation of the crypto industry in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Hill.
Garcia, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee — the House committee responsible for oversight of the crypto industry — called for policymakers to force the crypto industry to comply with existing financial service rules, arguing that the “vast majority” of crypto assets ought to be considered securities, pursuant to the rules and regulations implements by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in the Hill op-ed. Bankman-Fried, currently awaiting trial for allegations that he and other executives at crypto exchange FTX stole billions from customers to fund houses and illegal political donations, donated $2,900 directly to Rep. Garcia, while his Protect Our Future PAC spent $151,420 in independent expenditures supporting Garcia’s candidacy for the fourth district of Illinois, despite the fact he ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The incumbent congressman would go on to win the general election with 68% of the vote, before launching a campaign for mayor of Chicago, the Tribune reported. Garcia was joined in the op-ed by Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, who did not appear to have received donations from either Bankman-Fried or his influential Protect Our Future PAC, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.
“These collapses have cost investors trillions and have disproportionately harmed low-income, Latino, Black, and first-time investors,” wrote Garcia and Lynch, in the Hill op-ed. “To prevent another collapse, companies that issue cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges, and other relevant companies must come into compliance with existing securities laws, which include time-tested provisions that ensure investors and markets are protected from bad actors.”
Garcia donated a matching $2,900 to charity after the scandal surrounding Bankman-Fried broke in November, and his mayoral campaign spokesman said he “has been a strong advocate for the regulation of speculative industries, including the crypto industry,” according to the Tribune. Incumbent Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has targeted Garcia’s ties to Bankman-Fried, with campaign statements drawing attention to the fact that Garcia received substantial support despite running in an unopposed primary.
The Democratic lawmaker has also been tied to a case involving former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan — who was indicted last March as part of a federal corruption investigation —after the Chicago Tribune identified him as the Congressional member referenced by Madigan in a phone call to an aide. During this phone call, the two discussed appointing Garcia aide Juan Ochoa to the board of energy firm ComEd.
Garcia has not been accused of wrongdoing, and he told the Tribune that he was uninvolved in the investigation. Madigan previously endorsed Garcia in 2016, and Garcia in turn supported Madigan in 2018 when he was accused of sexual harassment, according to Politico.
The office of Rep. Garcia did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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