US Chamber of Commerce Accuses SEC of Acting “Unlawfully”

Reading Time: 2 minutes
  • The US Chamber of Commerce has sided with Coinbase in its complaint about the SEC’s regulatory approach
  • The body has accused the SEC of acting “unlawfully” in the way it has tackled the crypto space
  • It warns that the SEC is destroying innovation and losing America’s first-mover advantage

The US Chamber of Commerce has accused the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of acting “unlawfully” in the way it has handled crypto regulation. The body, which is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and professional organizations, filed a brief in the Coinbase v. SEC case in which it noted that the SEC’s actions are killing digital asset innovation in the US. It also accused the SEC of destabilizing the digital assets regulatory environment and violating Constitutional Due Process and Fair Notice rights, in a move that adds tremendous weight to Coinbase’s case.

“Confusing, Unhelpful, and Inconsistent”

The Chamber of Commerce outlined its grievance from the off, noting in its opening sentence that, “nobody knows for certain which digital assets, if any, are “securities” under federal law,” and noting that the SEC has “refused to resolve this threshold question.” It added that the SEC has chosen to rely on ad hoc enforcement measures, accompanied by public speeches and other statements that one commissioner criticized as “confusing, unhelpful, and inconsistent.”

Moreover, it says, the SEC has refused to participate in any rulemaking or other systematic process to clarify the meaning of its “claimed authority”. It also accuses the SEC of rendering the federal courts largely incapable of evaluating the “extremely contestable legal arguments underlying its expansive claimed authority”, a strategy which it says undermines the fundamental principles of due process, administrative law, and effective governance.

In essence, it says, the SEC’s approach amounts to a campaign to “penalize digital asset firms for alleged non-compliance with a law they do not know will apply to them.”

These strong sentiments echo those already offered by those in the crypto space who have been directly impacted by the SEC’s muddled approach, and echo the claims made by some members of the House Financial Services Committee recently.

In its filing, the Chamber of Commerce demands that the SEC respond to Coinbase’s petition, filed in July 2022, offer clarity and change the way it operates so that it is helping projects become compliant rather than punishing them when they’re not.