SEC chief under scrutiny by GOP over progressive agenda


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Republicans on Capitol Hill are laying the groundwork for how they will confront President Biden’s increasingly progressive economic agenda. They will make the Wall Street police chief a role model for an administration pursuing policies that they say are not in the interests of the average American and are unconstitutional.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, headed by former Goldman Sachs investment banker Gary Gensler, has become public enemy No. 1 for many members of the Republican Party in the House and Senate. They say his policies, which include recently proposed regulations that impose progressive environmental and other social issues decrees on Democrats near and dear, as well as extensive cryptocurrency regulation, far exceed his authority.

If the GOP takes Congress, it is planning a full-blown assault on Gensler and his SEC leadership, Fox Business has learned after interviews with several key GOP lawmakers and others involved in Republican politics.

This will likely include forcing Gensler to appear at committee hearings and possibly trying to cut the SEC budget, as happened in the past with the GOP-controlled Congress under the Obama administration.


Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a Congressional Oversight Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP, Pool/AP Newsroom)

Meanwhile, with the Republican Party remaining in the minority, the members begin planning their upcoming crusade against Gensler’s agency and leadership.

Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, led by Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, sent a letter to Gensler on Thursday criticizing him for his lack of transparency about the agency’s proposed rule, which, if passed, would require public companies to step up disclosures related to with the climate to stay up to date.

The letter follows Gensler’s lukewarm response last month to an SEC chairman’s request for answers about the costs of the proposal and how forced climate disclosure could have a dampening effect on oil exploration and drive up energy prices.

The request reviewed by Fox Business even raised the issue that forcing CEOs to take a stand on such sensitive political issues could violate their First Amendment rights.

The Committee wants the SEC to release all communication records related to the proposal between the SEC, the White House, and federal agencies.

Gary Gensler SEC

Gary Gensler, Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Gensler’s answer did not contain specific answers. Instead, he offered to brief committee members on the climate plan, GOP officials told Fox Business.

A Gensler spokesperson did not comment.

In the latest salvo, Toomey’s new letter called Gensler’s response “grossly inadequate and unacceptable,” while pointing out that a member of the public who filed a Freedom of Information Act request would be entitled to more records than what the SEC provided to the Senate committee. . commission oversight.

Toomey also said that the Republican Party believes the recent Supreme Court ruling limits the power of federal agencies such as the SEC to enforce Gensler’s policies. This could mean that the SEC’s new climate disclosure proposal is unconstitutional.


“In West Virginia v. The EPA Supreme Court has ruled that the executive branch and its agencies, including financial regulators, cannot use creative, new interpretations of existing law to pretend they have the legal authority to support sweeping policy changes that Congress never planned,” the senators wrote. . “Unfortunately, the SEC seems to be trying to do just that with its climate disclosure rule.”

Toomey is leaving the Senate after his term expires in January, but other members of the GOP banking committee will continue to press for it. Gensler’s proposals would have come under even tougher scrutiny if the Republican Party controlled the Senate.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler Testifies

Gary Gensler, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, testifies at a Senate Securities and Exchange Commission oversight hearing on banking, housing, and urban affairs on September 14, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Evelyn Hockstein-Poole/Getty Images/Getty Images)


“The Republican Party smells blood in the water, and this treatment of Gensler is just a harbinger of what’s to come,” said one former SEC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’ll run into Mary Shapiro on Gensler for sure if they win a majority.”

Republicans regularly harassed Mary Shapiro during extensive hearings on her agenda as chair of President Obama’s Securities and Exchange Commission after the House of Representatives went red in 2010 until the end of her tenure in 2012.

Chairman Gensler is due to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at its annual oversight hearing this fall.

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