During the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations meeting on July 19, Gary Gensler, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), asked for increased funding. He believes the SEC needs a larger budget to keep a closer eye on the often chaotic world of cryptocurrency, which he called the “Wild West”.
What Gensler wants
Gensler wants an extra $72 million to bolster the SEC’s staff and another $109 million specifically to strengthen the enforcement of rules and regulations. He highlighted the rise in misconduct, especially in new sectors like cryptocurrency, and argued that dealing with these problems requires extra funding for new equipment and more skilled workers.
Furthermore, Gensler has requested $393 million for technology-related expenses, intended to enhance data analysis and boost cybersecurity measures, among other aspects.
By securing this extra funding, the SEC aims to employ 170 more full-time employees, potentially increasing the SEC's staff to a total of 5,139 people.
Gensler has in view increasing the SEC's total budget to $5.1 billion, up from the current $4.7 billion.
Claims against the SEC
It should be noted that the SEC’s request for expansion comes amidst ambiguous decisions in the Ripple case. In addition, on July 19, Senior Republican representatives from the US House of Representatives criticized Gary Gensler in an open letter. Politicians French Hill and Dusty Johnson expressed their concern that the SEC's approach to cryptocurrency regulation is more about garnering publicity and making political statements rather than about effective governance.
They also asserted that the SEC’s aggressive enforcement strategy is not resulting in compliance or adequate consumer protection.
According to Hill and Johnson, implementing a statutory framework would set up a clear procedure for firms to enter the regulatory space and adhere to it, rather than just relying on enforcement actions to penalize wrongdoers after the harm has already been done.